Bike Shorts, April 20, 2020

27 Apr 2020 9:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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Happy cocooning at home.

1. Tour Director News

2. Safety tip from Monna

3. Diversions

1. Tour Director News

Tour Director News – Using RideWithGPS to Create Bike Routes

Last week we so enjoyed exploring our RWGPS (RideWithGPS) library, that this week we are going to learn how to make a bike route using RWGPS. As a bonus, we will also learn how to use satellite images in google. The route that we will be making is:

If you find the route description below confusing, you will want to open this route in a separate window in your browser to be sure that you are on the right track.

Now let’s get started. First, go to the RWGPS website:

This is going to be so much fun that we are going to want to bookmark this website, if we have not already done so. If you are prompted to sign up, it means you have to log in or sign up. 

Now click on “Route Planner”, it’s near the top left. Near the top right you will see “Enter a location”, type in “Bate Island”, then click on “Go”. Click on “No” to the question: “Do you want this to be your start point?” They never get the start point exactly where we want it. We will pinpoint it ourselves.

It is much easier to pinpoint the start using google maps, so open another window in your browser, start google maps, and zoom in on Bate Island. In the lower left corner of the map, click on “Satellite”. Now you can see the parking spaces and make a reasonable choice of start points. For some real excitement, click on the “3D” option and drag Bate Island around. The more you zoom, the more the excitement. Having chosen the start point, return to the RWGPS window and click on the start point. A little green balloon appears. (If a red line is attached to the little green balloon, then you have to click on “Clear Map” at the top left, because that red line is headed off somewhere we don’t want to go. Having cleared the map, click again on the start point and only a little green balloon will appear.)

At the bottom right, you can choose “Walking”, “Cycling” or “Driving”. Make sure that “Cycling” is selected. Now click on the bridge going over to Quebec. I just did that. What I expected to see was a nice route from the start point onto the bridge. Instead what I got is a route that crosses the bridge and then turns around and comes back to where I clicked. When weird stuff like that happens, click “Undo” below the right bottom corner of the map. When I clicked “Undo” I was reminded of an idiosyncrasy of RWGPS. Clicking “Undo” should only remove the last place you clicked. But, if you have only clicked one point other than the start point, it erases the start point as well. There are a couple of lessons here: (1) after selecting the start point, always choose your next point nearby; (2) when weird things happen, click “Undo”, zoom in, and try again.

Having made our way successfully onto the bridge, we are going to turn right on Boul. de Lucerne immediately after the bridge. So click on Boul. de Lucerne to the right of the bridge. We are going to take the first left off Lucerne which is Rue St. Dominique, but it is a full kilometre after the bridge. So find Rue St. Dominique, and click in the middle of the first little block (we are still south of Alexandre Taché). We are going to turn left on Taché and then, 100 metres later, right on the first of two blue bike paths. Click on the first of the two bike path so that we are headed north into Moore Farm.

Zoom out, if need be, to see the bike path go north and then swing west to cross the big street (St. Raymond). Click on the bike path after it has crossed St. Raymond. I don’t like what I see. There is a weird glitch as we cross St. Raymond and there are two parallel paths going north. I want the path on the right; the computer has selected the path on the left. So Undo and click your way up the blue path until you are across St. Raymond. Try to stay on the blue path all the way. If you are successful, you are better at this than I am. I couldn’t figure out any way to get across St. Raymond without jumping off the blue bike path and generating four lines of garbage in the cue sheet.

Actually, there is a way to go straight across St. Raymond. Hit “Undo” until the glitchy bit crossing St. Raymond has been erased. On the left of your screen you will see that “Follow Roads” is selected. Select “Draw Lines” underneath instead. Now click on the bike path on the other side of St. Raymond. The good news is that the four lines of garbage instructions are gone from the cue sheet. I’m hoping that there is also bad news. Control points are the little white circles where you have clicked to define the route. Depending on where your second last control point was, your route may have totally departed the bike path. If so, it is easy to fix. Put the cursor on the previous control point and click to drag it along the path until all looks well. Now, switch back to “Follow Roads” or you’ll be sorry.

This has been an interesting exercise in “Draw Lines”. Actually, I would not use “Draw Lines” here. I would just live with the little glitches as we cross St. Raymond because they do not cause problems with a GPS or a smart phone. They are only a problem if you are relying on cue sheets. In our next lesson (yes, there is more than one), we will look at some cases where you do need to “Draw Lines”.

Having crossed St. Raymond, we will take the first right on the bake path, as it goes north through Parc des Trembles. Then we will turn right on Boul. Louise Campagna. It took me three clicks to do this. How many did it take you? Then we are going left on the bike path on the west side of St. Raymond, then cross St. Raymond and follow Sentier des Pionniers to Promenade de la Gatineau, then right on the bike path beside Promenade de la Gatineau. I did this in a single click.

Now we are going to turn right onto the bike path that goes beside des Alumettières on the north side. I clicked on the bike path just before the first roundabout on des Alumettières and all is well. What happens as you cross Promenade du Lac des Fées does look very strange, but it is in fact correct. The route looks like a double paper clip and it is bike path all the way.

Now we are going to ride the bike path past the three roundabouts and turn left on Crémazie (second street after the third roundabout). So find Crémazie and click on it. When I did this a year ago, there were lots of mistakes and I had a dandy time trying to make the route follow the bike path. For some reason, today there are only two mistakes. So zoom in on the route and find any places where it departs from the bike path. Undo and re-click until the mistakes are all fixed. Sorry this isn’t more difficult. You may even find that there are no mistakes to fix. You can never be sure what computers will do.

That’s enough for now. Let’s go no further. Click on the red “Save” button. The “Save” button is above the cue sheet, which is at the left of the screen. You might have to scroll up on the cue sheet to find the “Save” button. Having hit the “Save” button, you are now looking at the “Save Route” box. Fill in the “Title” field and click on “Save”. Now a box appears where you can choose to “View Route”. You can if you want, but I would just close this box, sit back and relax for now. There will be more to do in next week’s installment of Tour Director News. Tom Wiley

2. Safety Tip from Monna – Be careful on sand and gravel

Anyone who has ventured out recently on their bikes can attest to how dirty the roads are. All the winter sand, gravel and general debris can be treacherous when we are on our bike. Hitting sand at high speed is comparable to hitting a brick wall - you are probably going to go down. To avoid injury - be attentive to road surfaces and adjust your speed accordingly, especially when cornering. Be careful, slow down, and be aware of your environment.

3. Diversions

Web pages from Ontario By Bike: How to Bike ON During COVID-19

1. Ride Indoors - Check out Zwift, Rouvy or Fulgaz for some virtual indoor cycling experiences. Bring your bike indoors with stand solutions such as Kickr by Wahoo Fitness. Download the Peleton app for free cycling classes and more to get you further motivated.

2. Plan Your Next Adventure - Plan new routes to explore in the future; a ride bucket list if you will. Find cycling itineraries on our website or get some ride ideas from the 2020 Cycling in Ontario guide. Try plotting your own ride route or itinerary on RidewithGPS or Strava.

3. Find Alternative Exercises - There are lots of training programs and exercise routines now online. For the more serious have a look at 10 Essential Strength Exercises for Cyclists and a Guide to Training During COVID-19.

4. Read a Book or Enjoy Some Cycling Screen Time - A new popular topic of conversation check out these curated lists and suggestions: Best book suggestions from Adventure Cycling; Bike movies to binge watch from Pinkbike; Movies and books from European Cycling Federation; Youtube channel by GCN/Global Cycling Network; short bike movies/docs Standing Man, Life of Pie, Dirt Magic From Dying Mining Town to Mountain Bike Mecca and We Are Epic.

Downloadable book: Cargo Bike Nation

The Host of TVO’s Life-sized city has made his book "Cargo Bike Nation" available for free download during #coronavirus crisis. Over 700 photos of cargo bikes in action - and general transporting stuff by bike - for urban inspiration.

It's available for a limited time at this WeTransfer link:


Geoffrey Gurd, President, KNBC