How to Cycle a New Location


Have you ever arrived in a city or town that is new to you and been unsure as to where to ride?  Not knowing which streets and highways are “cycling friendly” can make it tough when taking that first ride in a new location.

Arriving in Florida this week, put me in this exact type of situation.  I’ve never ridden here and don’t even know anyone who’s cycled this area, so I was pretty much in the dark when it came to the best places to ride.  I’m not big on spending half my ride searching for a good route, so I sat down prior to my first Florida ride this week and planned my attack like I do anytime I ride an unknown area.

3 Tips on How to Cycle a New Location

  1. Ask – One of the best ways to find out anything is to ask.  There are so many great networks out there today, so make use of them and ask all your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and other social media buddies if they can help you out with recommendations for good riding in the area.  If you’re not a social media junkie then once you get to your new destination, ask each and every single person you can until you find a fellow cyclist who can hook you up.
  2. Drive – Another great way to get a feel for what’s out there and which routes would work out best for your riding is to take a drive.  By doing this, you get a first hand look at what you’ll be up against and are able to figure out which roads might be best for your type of riding.
  3. GPS – If you have a cycling computer like a Garmin Edge 500 or any other GPS system, then you can also upload a local route.  There are many ways to do it, but an easy one is going to and search for the new area you’ll be riding.  Here’s a step by step if this is something new for you:
  • Click the “search for rides” tab
  • Click on the route you’d like to take
  • This will bring up a large map of the route.  Click on the “Route” drop down menu
  • If you’ve got a Garmin GPS, select “Save to Garmin/CRS” (See Below)
  • Download the CRS file
  • Once saved to your computer, drag and drop it in the “New Files” folder of your Garmin (you’ll need to have it connected to your computer)
  • The next time you turn on your Garmin, it will automatically convert the CRS file to a FIT file and place it in the Courses folder.



One more thing to keep in mind is using good judgement.  If you find yourself about to get on a road (or already on a road) that just doesn’t feel cycling safe, don’t be afraid to bail and find an alternate route.

A little preparation and you’ll be able to fully enjoy that first ride in a new area, without being slowed down by a bad route or nasty road.  You’ll be out there Loving the Bike on some new unchartered territory.  Enjoy Your Ride.

Enjoy Your Ride

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10 Responses to “ How to Cycle a New Location ”

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  2. Tony on November 26, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    This is perfect advice. I’ll be an LA in a new area in a few weeks and I’m bringing my bike. Will have to use your tips to get a good route locked down.

    • Loving the Bike on November 27, 2010 at 6:44 am

      Have a great trip to LA….and, of course, some great rides while you’re there.


  3. Kendall on November 26, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Good post! I would say to not rely too heavliy on sources such as google maps. We were in Boise last summer, and I was trying to find the velodrome there. Google Maps said that it was on one road, when it was on a completely different road. Never found it while I was there.

    • Loving the Bike on November 27, 2010 at 6:45 am

      Yeah, Google Maps are great but they sometimes aren’t able to help you select the best roads for cycling. What I do sometimes is use the “street view” feature and see what the road looks like and how big the shoulder is. That’s very helpful.


  4. Santa on November 26, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Dear, Darryl.

    I’ve been a fan of your blog for a long time now. This post is especially timely for Santa. I’ve always used maps on my epic December ride, but I think this year I’ll ask the elves to build me one of those GPS you describe.

    Thanks, Darryl. You’ve been very good this year.

    Ho ho ho!


  5. Antoine RJ Wright on November 26, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Good stuff here. One of the things I do is look for a few local shops and ask there. If needed, I also try and get a tuneup at one of them to not just get the ride info but also give some business. I then usually stich my rides between shops and go from there.

    • Tim on November 26, 2010 at 7:38 am

      local bike shops are key…most of them host and support rides in their area

    • Darryl on November 26, 2010 at 7:45 am

      Good tip……and it’s also a lot of fun to check out a new shop.


  6. Clive Chapman on November 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Maps! I’m old school, and I was taught in the Army that time spent on reconnasance is never wasted. A thorough map recce works every time for me. It’s like pedalling the area before you get there. I appreciate thT with the advent of satnav and GPS maps are declining in popularity, but I’d recommend everyone learns to map read, it’s very satisfying and don’t forget, technology can break!


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