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How To Find Hidden Gravel Roads And Other Route Planning Tips

How To Find Hidden Gravel Roads And Other Route Planning Tips

– As a pro rider, sometimes
you’re on your bike for 20, even 30 hours, a week. And so you end up riding the routes that you always ride over and over again. During my career, I loved trying to find all the little roads. And here in New England where I’m from, there are literally hundreds of roads that all end up in the same place. So today, I’m gonna walk
you guys through some tips and tricks that I used to use to keep the roads fresh
and to keep you smiling. (deep bass) One of our partners here at GCN is Komoot. Komoot is a mapping software. There’s a route that I used
to take all the time as a pro that I really disliked, because
it was on a super main road. I’ve looked for an
alternative route on Komoot and Open Street Maps
that is gonna look like it takes me behind there. So we’re gonna go, and
we’re gonna check it out. (inspirational music) So before we go out there
and check everything out, I wanted to show you guys
exactly what’s happening here. So, the route that I like
to do starts over here where I live, goes down, comes around, and then this is the interchange
that I don’t wanna go near. People are driving like lunatics, crazy, texting, who knows what they’re doing. I hate this intersection, I
don’t wanna be anywhere near it. When I was on Komoot, I can see that there was a trail system
that I had never ridden before that basically will take
me right around that area and drop me right in the downtown. So then I went over and
I double checked my idea against Strava global heat maps. And if you can imagine what that is, it’s essentially the heat,
meaning the amount of times that Strava’s users have gone out and ridden a section of trail. And I can see that it actually, riders have gone through part of the trail that I wanna use, but
there’s an area where I, where it’s not gonna work. So instead, I’m gonna take this area, and it’s gonna drop me
out right in downtown, which is gonna be perfect. So the last thing is
that you wanna make sure that you check with the
local trail conservation. And you wanna make sure
that they allow bikes, because the last thing
that we wanna be doing is out riding on trails
that are meant for hikers, and bird watchers and things like that, and ripping our bikes through there and getting everybody upset. Make sure that you put it forward, make sure that you check it out, and don’t ride on anything that’s not supposed to have bikes on it. This is the main pathway that
I’m trying to get away from. It’s all of the highways
coming into one area, going back into downtown. Unfortunately, this is a
great way to come back, but now that I’ve seen this new trail, I think that’s gonna be a better option. (fast staccato string music) Here we are. I’m just gonna make sure
that bikes are cool. See what we’ve got here. It doesn’t say there aren’t bikes allowed. So let’s hit it. (grunts) (adventurous music) Okay, so, this is definitely the right way to go. That is the opposite direction. We need to go this way. This trail is sweet,
the perfect cut through to get around all that nasty traffic. (adventurous music) I’m so pumped about this. We skipped the crazy traffic, get a beautiful view of the range, the mountain range in the background, with a little bit of extra planning, we get this extra section
of gravel and trail. Pretty sweet! (adventurous music) That was the perfect cut through to get me off the main thoroughway and onto my local bike path. (soft melodious string music) Okay, so my next tip is a good one, one that I’ve used many, many times. And that is, don’t bite
off more than you can chew. And what I mean by that
is if you’re planning a 60, 70-mile ride, then make sure that when you go out, you do the first half of it on day one. So like let’s say 30 miles
or something like that, you go out, you make sure
that that wild rest stop that you don’t know is actually
there is in fact there, that the roads that you
chosen actually go through, and then you’re in good shape. Because if you get out
into mile 45, 40, 50, and you’re in the middle of nowhere, and you still got another
50 miles, 20, 30, whatever, to go home, you’re in trouble. No, do the first part of
the ride, 30, 40 miles. Come back, next day, do
the other part in reverse. Then you meet in the middle, and then on the third day, you go through, and you do the entire loop. You know everything flows good, you know where your rest
stops are, all that. It’s saved me from a lot
of bad days on the bike, and I’m happy that I’ve implemented
that process many times. (relaxing music) All right, so we were originally
gonna shoot this outside, but it’s literally
thundering and lightning, and there’s rain, and it’s
crazy out there right now. So we’re here inside my local cafe, which brings us to our next tip. And that is about every 20 miles or so, you wanna make sure that
you have a nice rest stop with provisions and food and water, ’cause if not, these roads go
out in the middle of nowhere. You plan something that looks
really adventurous and fun, but there’s literally
nowhere to get water or food. It’s not gonna be a good look. So you need to come back into a town or to a place that has a country store or something like that,
so you can get a pastry or a cookie and some water. Google Maps does a really
good job of this for me. And every time I’m out
in the middle of nowhere, basically I zoom in on the
area that’s around 20 miles, I type in store, and then I look up where the local country store’s gonna be. After I find it, I include it on my route. And then at 40 miles, I do
the same, and so and so on. It’s really good to be
able to plan like that, ’cause if you don’t, you could caught out. So those are my best tips that I have for planning a good gravel ride, knowing how to use Komoot, knowing where to use Strava heat maps, knowing Google Maps, knowing,
all the little tips and tricks in planning just that perfect ride to make sure that you never are
bored when you’re out there, because who wants to be bored? And also, who wants to be
lost in the middle of nowhere? You don’t, you don’t wanna be crawling onto someone’s front doorstep and, “Hello, can I please have some water?” You don’t wanna do that. So make sure that you
implement this stuff, and have fun with it. If you like this video,
please give it a thumbs up. Click over here for more
cool gravel videos and tips. And if you love GCN,
and you wanna subscribe, click right in the centre.

100 thoughts on “How To Find Hidden Gravel Roads And Other Route Planning Tips”

  1. Jeremy, How about a meetup somewhere in MA? I live near Boston and would love to come out west for a ride. Also, when are they going to add you to the presenters list on the website?

  2. Hello Jeremy , nice to come across you today, while starting my ride in Williamsburg, to Ashfield, Conway and return. Ken Blair (Old guy with flashy Concorde)(Easthampton). KB.

  3. Kamoot and heatmaps are a powerful combo. Throw in a little google street view and baby you've got a navigation stew going. Nice video!

  4. Jeremy in front of hospital — it doesn't say "no bikes allowed", let's go!

    Jeremy in front of funeral ceremony – it doesn't say "no bikes allowed", let's go!

    Jeremy on LaGuardia tarmac – it doesn't say "no bikes allowed", let's go!

    Love this guy! 😀

  5. Amazing videography on this, and I love the music choice.

    J-pow going uphill and over that boulder at 3:09…wow. Good tips as well.

  6. Hey, let me ask you something. I have a road and mountain bike. Why would I need a gravel bike? Looks to me that that will be like the fat tire bikes in a few years, gone.

  7. A bit old fashioned, but I look at the gazetteer or topo maps from the U.S.G.S. for trails in the national forest.

  8. In Michigan the way to find a gravel route…just start pedaling, there are more gravel roads than anywhere else.

  9. I love to plan new routes with Kamoot. It´s so easy and simple. Kamoot gives the right choises of gravelroutes and you get many informations What to expact of the route. With planning and exploring I got to know new routes that I´dnt know exist. It´s so much fun to find new routes and not riding the old ones again and again. Thanks for the upload, your advices bout gravel helps alot.

  10. Hey, what’s your opinion on sub-compact cranksets? Just ordered a FSA Omega 46-30 to replace my FSA Omega 50-34 since I almost never use the big ring. Will it help or is it a waste of time?

  11. Here's a challenge, use Kamoot out in US Kansas. I think its very difficult to get a good route, public parking to get closer to the fun areas and stops in between is super difficult. Would give you a good challenge when using kamoot as it's barren with data >_>

  12. Set off without a map or GPS and take the first road or path that you've never been down and keep doing that at every junction. Always take a day's worth of food and drink with you on the bike, just in case.

  13. Yet another great video — love seeing more and more of them about gravel. In terms of the tips, in MN (and surrounding states) you don't have the luxury of finding a coffee shop or c-store every xx amount of miles. It's best to carry all your food/water or even have a camelbak. And, if you run out of water, it's okay to knock on a farmer's door and ask to use their outdoor hose. I've never heard of a gravel grinder being turned down. #MinnesotaNice

  14. The Strava heatmap is by far the best way to find trails. It puts an overlay onto a map color coded to show how often people pass through that area. I've found lots of new routes doing this

  15. nice is goes around the back of the North hampton co-op. If you're thirsty, you can also get a coffee at the co-op. I'm sure you already know it, but up the hill towards williamsburg is Bread Euphoria

  16. I loved the "hero adventure" sound-track as Jeremy discovered streams and leaves and triumphed over the caterpillar hordes. It was magnificent !!

  17. I use OpenCycleMap and just plot a route at random from a to b, trying to join up all the bridleways and fireroads I can. Beauty of an adventure/gravel bike is that you can mix paved and unpaved roads at will and never feel like you are missing out: offroad is always challenging without having to be singletrack, and road climbs are rewarding rather than a struggle.
    Use to plan stops.

  18. I'm not a gravel grinder, more a XC racer, but my pro tip for exploring new routes (in my case MTB trails) is to ride with friends. I live in a town where I know tens, maybe hundert of downhills and little paths in the woods, but I knew almost nothing around the next town. But I went for a ride with a friend who comes from that town and he showed me so nice trails, so now I actually shred the trails maybe even more these ten kilometers away from my home than what I only knew before.

  19. Great info and funny. "Hello, can I have some water"! LOL. I have a mountain bike and went to riding more on roads (with my road bike). Though I don't mind, I can't seem to see the reason for a gravel bike. To me this is going backwards. Didn't mountain bikes start with road type frames and evolved from there? What am I missing? The last video was talking about tires and frankly, they were leading to mtn bike territory.

  20. You mean you aren't supposed to go without a map or planning or anything. Where is the sense of adventure? Seriously, great video. I like this guy.

  21. EXCELLENT video JP ! could have used the split route tip a few years ago while in Bormio, ended up in Switzerland…..all down hill from there for a super long, unnecessary ride 🙁

  22. Komoot is alright, but I'll be honest, Google maps works better. There are some features that are lacking in Komoot that would provide better routes. For example, my commute involves a tunnel under a highway and another under train tracks, but Komoot is unaware of that and suggests a ridiculous climb on a busy road as the only option for me.

  23. great video love it. glad to see GCN in North America. Would like to see you come to canada. Was happy to see you at the Paris to Ancaster race.

  24. I find it more than a little impressive the way he tosses that beautiful Pinarello around on the rocky trails (3:03). This gentleman has some serious talent.

  25. How does Kumoot know that a road actually exists? Forest roads close all the time and become overgrown. Private property?

  26. Jeremy Let's get lost. I love getting lost on a ride. Google the nearest store and it is still half an hour away. hahaha. Good video.

  27. Part of the fun of adventure cycling is getting lost, finding yourself crawling through the under growth, having taken the wrong turn. The best way to learn and remember routes babe that on a trail or road is riding without any computer navigation. I use my GPS all the time on club rides, but the route never sinks into my memory solidly unless I've ridden the routes unassisted. Never underestimate the human's naturally given sensors and gut instinct. If your destined to get lost dehydrate and die so be it. Harsh and tough, but that's just how the evolutionary development of are kind and every other species's kind move on. Sure GPS navigation is wonderful and so useful, but do not forget the old manual orienteering and navigation skills.

  28. I don't think Jeremy ever "gets bored" do you? Whatever medium you use (even map and compass) planning is always good! Nice video all concerned…..

  29. I love Komoot but it's just not fully there as a route planning tool (which I guess it's aspiring to be) as this video also demonstrates. The heat map tool is so valuable at the planning stage that it necessitates opening Strava and Komoot, then ultimately I just end up using Strava to do it and the Komoot tab gets closed once again. If Komoot could visually show (regardless of whether they use crowd data in their routing algorithms) it would be an epic planning tool, until then i'm still on the fence.

  30. Frustrating thing with Strava heatmaps is the lack of differentiation of ride type, they must have the data !? Been bitten a few times with arriving at a dirt trail on road bike with this. A ride type toggle on Strava routing would be invaluable.

  31. When I first saw this, the thumbnail was partly covered by another window so I just saw "How to plan your grave". Hmm…

  32. Your route planning tips are useless unless you are a pro. Why not aim a video at everybody. Otherwise it is discrimination. Its 2019……HOLA.

  33. J Pow, You're a natural at these videos and bring great personality to it! Nice work. And I don't think I've ever seen cinematography like this or heard such nice music from a GCN video! Litrally!

  34. Nothing is wrong at ringing someones doorbel. This way I met a fellow navy veteran. After a moment i went without water.

  35. I started out by choosing MTB ride on komoot. Not the best idea with a gravel bike but in some parts can yield some great results anyway! 😉 I wish there was a gravel specific algorithm.. and actually more gravel in my area.

  36. J Pow comes across as a really good guy, nice presentation style and very knowledgeable, nice addition to the GCN lineup.?

  37. Here in Germany you cannot get lost in the wild … unfortunately I have to say! So Google + trial & Error do a pretty good job here. But I'm quite jealous about the beautiful land where you ride, Jeremy

  38. No bike trails where I live. I bought a gravel bike for the various dirt roads and farm markets roads. I’ve learned to scout my routes for dogs?

  39. Why plan everything so thoroughly? I've done double centuries and multiple day trips where I put in the route in Google maps, figured out the first few streets and just went the direction my destination was. It becomes an adventure, not just a ride

  40. That guy is really good, both cycling and presenting. Thanks so much.
    So I summer in the Durango area of Colorado. Think narrow roads, wide RVs and people who think they are driving on I-XX. My solution, working so far is to find the gravel CRs and ride them. Always great views, hills, birds, an occasional badger! I see so many Durango cyclists on the black top with all of the above and think, 'I'm too chicken to ride there." (One could phrase it, I like my life way too much.)

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