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FionaOutdoors
FionaOutdoors

The easier way to ride A to B

If you are a cycle tourer, endurance rider or even a general weekend cyclist, you’ll be keen to hear about a new route planner that promises to take you from A to B with the smallest amount of effort. While there are already apps and websites, such as Google Maps and CycleStreets, that make it possible to plot a direct route from one place to the next, and some have the option to show how best to avoid traffic as a cyclist, the latest route planning software will reveal the best route to reach your destination “as fresh as possible”. So, if you are keen to enjoy a day of cycling but you are worried about using up all your energy, or you want to get from A to B but you have only a short time to do your ride, the new planner will offer the best time-efficient and least muscle-zapping route. It could also be a lifesaver if you find you are low on food or energy half-way through a bike ride.

Creation of an "easy" A to B planner

The route planner inventors are from the University of Arizona. They have based their routes on the ones that demand the least energy. To work out the best route they have divided roads into segments and rated them from easy to difficult. While flat routes will obviously be easier than hillier ones, a hilly route is assessed on the number of changes in gradients and the steepness of the gradients. The gadget also rates descents as a zero cost in terms of a cyclist’s energy. By adding together all the scores for every section of a route, the new route planner can estimate the easiest course from A to B. Of course, there are other factors that can’t be accounted for, such as a rider’s effort or wind speed and direction, but in terms of terrain it is likely to prove a useful tool. Currently, the software has been produced but the inventors are looking for a commercial deal to make it viable. We’ll keep you posted. Also see 7 great smartphone apps for cyclists and How to cycle longer (and easier).  
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