The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

where are we going?

When you head out on a ride, how often do you have a specific route in mind? How often do you stick to that route?

When I am heading out my wife will ask me “when should I expect you back?” In all honesty, I have no idea how to answer her. Even if I have a route in mind, there is no guarantee that I can offer her. If I am out riding and I see a “new road” I just have to try it, to see where it goes. I’ll say only about 20% of the time do I have a route in mind and stick to that route.

19 Replies

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Bill Penland, April 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm

When I head out, I have a decent idea where I’m going and how far probably 90%+ of the time.

This thread is quite timely, however, for a sucky reason. Yesterday I headed out on a ride, intending to ride a local rail-trail. For this reason, I didn’t wear a helmet, one of the handful of times in months that I’ve not done so. Instead just a ball cap.

However, literally on my front porch as I was about to head out, I changed my mind and decided on a different route (a road route). I should have gotten my helmet on, but just pressed on.

Naturally, something way bad happened. Crossing train tracks, I crossed the first groove ok but somehow, some way, my tire (front tire, I think) got stuck in the second groove and I couldn’t get out. Traveling at speed, all of this happened in well less than a second. I got thrown off the bike, incurred a nice bloody gash on my head, which proceeded to bleed way more than I’ve ever bled in my life, and got a little ambulance ride to the hospital for a few stitches.

The moral of this unintended thread hijack is – regardless if you think you know where you’re going or not, do not be a dummy – wear a helmet 😀



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Michrider !!!, April 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Rule #1; heads don’t bounce as well as basketballs!!!!!



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Pdiddly, April 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm

How did this thread go from how to tell your wife you don’t know when you’re coming home to a ride in an ambulance to the emergency room with a bloody dome? Wait a minute….. it makes sense.



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KC, April 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I’d say I have an exact route and know where I’m going 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent of the time, I decide to cut the ride a little short or go a little longer and subtract or add to it by cutting a loop somewhere or making a loop somewhere.



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CyclingRoberto, April 7, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Doesn’t matter where I go, as I know ALL the roads within 30 miles of my home. My buddy calls me a human GPS. On a group ride one time, a guy said, “I figured it out!” I asked him what he was talking about, and he said he figured out how I knew where to go. He was referring to paint marks on the road that clubs use to mark bike rides. I told him I hated to disappoint him but that I just knew where I was. BTW, if you don’t know a road, I suggest you drive the road in your car before learning the road isn’t appropriate for cycling.

And Bill, what makes you think you don’t need a helmet on a trail? I crashed on a rail trail, header over the bars, and cracked my helmet in half. My head was fine. If you’re riding your bike, you should be wearing your helmet.

See you on the road.



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Bill Penland, April 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm

“And Bill, what makes you think you don’t need a helmet on a trail? I crashed on a rail trail, header over the bars, and cracked my helmet in half. My head was fine. If you’re riding your bike, you should be wearing your helmet.”

No, I know I should wear a helmet on the trail. I only pass on the helmet once a blue moon, and then ONLY if it’s on the trail, is what I mean. But it’s rare to pass on it. Making the timing of this fall all the worse. One of the literally single-hand-count of times I’ve not worn a helmet in months, I take a nasty fall and split my head open.

Goes without saying I will NEVER not wear one again. I was very fortunate to get away with the consequences that I did incur.

Anyway – definitely didn’t mean to hijack the thread. I thought the timing of it ironic given my last 24 hours 🙂



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Cyfan, April 8, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Now that Bill understands that even one time is too many times to not wear a helmet we can get back to the original thoughts on this thread.

I almost always know where I will be riding when I leave the house. Wind and other conditions might change the distance I ride but I pretty much know what I am going to do. Even knowing that I will add extra time to what I will tell my wife since she is a worrier so if I am late she starts to worry.



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HillsAngels1, April 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I’d say I have an exact route and know where I’m going 80 percent of the time. The other 20 percent of the time, I decide to stop by a pub and do a little carb overload and that is what we call RAGBRAI TRAINING then who knows when the ride will be done



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jwsknk, April 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm

every Wednesday night for years same route , either the 20 mile loop or 25 by going out past the church and back. End parts always the same, sitting in Gilbert 5 miles from Ames on the patio and seeing the sun about to go down. The group rides always have a destination & route laid out, seems to be about 3 we always do out of Ames, Slater-Madrid-Woodward (Bouton) and back, Nevada- Cambridge-Slater, or Cambridge-Maxwell-Elkhart-Cambridge.



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Kate, April 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm

95% of the time I don’t have any clue where I plan on going. I know all the routes around me, I just don’t decide until I’m out. Heck, the other night I was on my way home from dinner with friends and decided to just keep going on my bike, in jeans, at night, for another 25 miles. It was great.



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Sandaltan, April 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm

The Little Stoker tells me where we are going, always to a destination with, coffee, a cookie, lunch, breakfast or maybe beer and peanuts. Except on Tuesday night, that is girls ride night and I go the other way.




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deweyheidi, April 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm

If it’s a training ride, I tend to have an idea of where I plan to go. Usually it’s based on time or mileage. If I’m just riding to stretch the legs or kill some time, I could end up anywhere.



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KC, April 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Not to hijack the thread, but to agree with Roberto, my worse accident could have been at 8 mph on a trail if it were not for my helmet. I always wear a helmet no matter what.



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Pdiddly, April 8, 2013 at 6:56 pm

100% of the time I know where I’m going. I’m going for a ride. Apart from that, who knows?



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elentir, April 9, 2013 at 6:50 am

A few years ago when I really started riding again, I decided to head out from Altoona east toward Mitchellville. I was determined to explore a little and try to get in a 20 mile ride. I headed north from Mitchellville after that and, after a few miles stumbled across the Chichaqua Valley trail. I had no clue it was even there. So I figured I’d follow it for a while and see where it led. My 20 mile ride ended up turning into a 40+ mile ride and I loved every mile of it because it was all unexplored territory! 🙂 Unfortunately, I’m getting to CR’s point now where I know just about every route within the metro area now. I have to go further and further to explore new roads/trails. Anyway, as most of my riding this year is my commute to work, I know pretty much both my route and how long it will take. I just play little games on my commutes like how fast can I climb a particular hill this morning or can I time the lights downtown so I don’t have to come to a complete stop at any intersection (really tough to do BTW)!



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