archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

Alternate routing, for a safer trike journey

Kurt Ziegler, long-time Trike Asylum reader, and avid cycling enthusiast, is familiar with cross country touring, and has certainly logged his share of miles out there on the open road. Below is part of a much larger story he wrote about a particular section of his journey while following the Adventure Cycling Association route. Kurt abandoned the ACA route at times, opting for safer ways to reach his destination. Like Kurt, I have found the ACA routing to be suggesting roads that may be off the beaten path more, but, in my opinion, are not nearly as safe as the main highway (in may case, it was on the Oregon Coast Bike Route, and I talk about it in my book of the same name – the reason I knew not to take the ACA suggested route was because I live out here on the edge of the land, and realized the ACA way was not the safe way).

Well, anyway, below is a segment of Kurt’s interesting story, which I recommend reading in its entirety if you have the time to do so. Here ya’ go …

Alternative Routing
Posted on August 31, 2012 by Kurt
Day 127 • July 6, 2012 •  Danville to Berea, KY •  32 miles

I think I’ve mentioned before how much we appreciate Adventure Cycling and their maps.  Love ‘em.  But we were increasingly not loving the roads we were being routed on.  Narrow, shoulder-less, curvy, hilly roads make for extremely poor sight lines.   Add thick vegetation and a regional pastime of driving waaaay too fast for conditions and you’ve got a potential mess.  This isn’t a trike thing–  the problem is the same for any slow moving vehicle on these roads.  (Note to motorists:  if you can’t see the pavement you’re hurtling toward, slow down!).  So we were increasingly opting to skip the AC routing and choose bigger, straighter roads.  With the one big exception back in Missouri this strategy was serving us well, but the further east we got in Kentucky the harder it was becoming to find good alternatives.

Having decided to follow this strategy yesterday to get to Danville, we were obliged to continue it to Berea where we could intercept the TransAmerica again.  There were a lot of possibilities but we’d had good success yesterday on the direct route following Highway 150 so we decided to continue that thinking today and headed east out of Danville on Highway 52.  This worked well until we reached Paint Lick where we turned onto Route 21.  Route 21 is one of the many Kentucky roads that fit my description in the previous paragraph.  Even so it was in good shape, traffic was light, and the ride was quite enjoyable.  That all changed a few miles from Berea where the light traffic may have actually made matters worse because one of the few cars going in our direction met us on a blind right curve going way over the speed limit.

I first noticed the sound of a racing engine behind us, then saw a blur in my rear view mirror about the same time I heard the sound of brakes locking up on pavement.  There was nowhere we could go so I just watched as the car swerved around us, thankfully not meeting another car or cyclist in the oncoming lane.  I broke my promise with Lisa for the second time on the trip, yelling something stupid and probably profane about slowing down as he screeched past us.  I was a little surprised that the face I briefly saw didn’t look defiant or pissed off or checked out—he looked scared.  A few miles later we reached our destination at the Oh Kentucky campground in Berea and the guy was there, sitting in his car.  We chatted for a while.  He was an intelligent guy.  Young.  Not drunk, stoned or otherwise incapacitated.  He’d just been driving way ahead of his sight and ability to react.  And he was still shaking like a leaf.

To read the rest of the story, including days prior to Day 127 shown here, click HERE.

Gearhead Kurt

Kurt Zeigler


2 responses

  1. Robert

    The more I ride the better multi-lane roads look. The main thing being cars can go around without entering the opposing lane.

    February 3, 2017 at 8:44 am

  2. trike hobo

    I agree Robert. I’ve ridden freeways with shoulders wider than car lanes, and I always feel relaxed in them. There was one section of freeway in Nevada, between Carson City and Gardnerville, where the car speed limit is 70 MPH, but the shoulder is so wide, and the straight-line visibility is so excellent that it’s much safer than some of those country roads with no shoulder and lots of blind curves. Multi-lane roads, freeway or ordinary highway, are the best bets for easy pedaling – not only that, but they are often less hilly and easier to ride. Those little roads can be real challenges in many ways.

    February 3, 2017 at 2:35 pm