When I worked in the Airline industry, I spent most of my career working second and third shifts with rotating days off. So, I had to do “solo bike rides” for much of my career. I actually enjoyed my solo rides. I could ride as fast or slow as I wanted to, stop when I wanted to and explore new roads and trails.
When I joined TCBC, I couldn’t go on most of the weekend rides or evening rides because of my work conflicts. I would sometimes get a map from a TCBC ride leader and ride the route on my own. I was using early Garmin hand held GPS units at the time and I soon learned how to use Delorme mapping software to create a “track file” that I could download to my Garmin GPS. That made navigating the routes much easier than trying to follow a map or queue sheet.
Now with modern mapping software like Ride with GPS (RWGPS) and dedicated bike GPS units with cycling specific maps, that process is much easier. I can download a route from RWGPS, to my bike GPS unit, with just a single “click” on my computer. The new bike specific maps on my GPS have all of the roads, bike trails and even mountain bike trails, so all routes that I have downloaded seem to work great and are easy to follow.
I have also tried the RWGPS app on my phone and that also works great. The only problem is you have to be a paid member of RWGPS to download maps from their site to your phone. If you want to use your phone for this, I think a membership to RWGPS is a good investment.
Now that we all are going to ride solo for a while, I have decided to share some of my routes that I was planning on adding to the TCBC ride calendar. All of the routes that I will share will have been pre-ridden by me just before I post them and are in good condition. They will be relatively car free any time of day, including rush hour. Since I use a lot of bike trails on my routes, a good mapping GPS unit or the RWGPS phone app will be necessary to make navigating the route possible.
Here is a link to a route that I was going to lead as a TCBC ride on Sunday: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/32144624 . It’s a 30-mile route from Como Park to Little Canada. It uses a lot of trails, including several sections of boardwalks. If the boardwalks are wet, slow down because they will be slippery!
If you choose to ride this route, please ride solo or with someone you live with. And please be respectful to other trail users, which there will more of than usual because of the school closures.
Hopefully we will soon be able to resume TCBC group rides again. Until then, be safe and enjoy exploring on your own.
Thank you Johnny.
Good idea, Johnny! I'd also like to make it easy for people to access the routes that I've created and placed on the club's RwGPS site. There are quite a few of them and they really need to be cleaned out a bit -- I should have plenty of time for that now🤔 This is an experiment. I don't know if this link will work; please let me know if it does or doesn't:
Needless to say, I haven't had time to do much route checking yet this season, and some of the trails are still impassable. However, if the link works, the routes should have maps and cue sheets available (Click on the "More" dropdown list to find them) and it should be possible to download tracks to your GPS or smartphone.
Good luck; maybe I'll see you on the trails!
Como Park to Lilydale Park.
This is my favorite route in the Twin Cities area. I have been riding and leading various versions of it for around 5 years. I didn’t get to ride it as much last year because of the Mississippi River flooding most of the Spring and Summer months and snow and ice on the trail and road for the late Fall and Winter months. The road through Lilydale Park is still closed but the bike trail is open and free of ice. I rode the route and it is in very good shape. There was a little glass on the Trout Brook Trail and there was a little ice under the bridges in Swede Hollow.
Here is a link to the RWGPS route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/32155124
If you decide to ride it, you should bring enough food and water to last for 35 miles. Also bring hand sanitizer in case you need to use a satellite restroom. Someone is stealing the hand sanitizer that is provided in the satellites!
As with Johnny's rides, most of my routes use bike trails and the best way (maybe the only way) to navigate them without missing a lot of turns is to download the track to a GPS unit or a smartphone with the Ride with GPS app. And I'm still not sure the "Print Map and cue PDF" feature will work properly for those who don't have a Ride with GPS account. However, for very adventuresome and self-sufficient riders, here's a direct link to most of the maps/cue sheets in PDF format: