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Riding "Curvature" roads around Prettyboy

'Saturday November 21st, 2020 10:00'
This ride is over.
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Friday November 20th 2020

How it got started

Originally this ride was titles "Riding 'Road Curvature' roads to EMMR".  I had this idea and it went something like this.... What if we took a bunch of roads from a website dedicated to finding curvy roads, stitched them together on our way up to the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing?  

Eastern Museum of Motor Racing

I first found out about this place only a few weeks ago.  I was gathering points in a scavenger hunt sponsored by Bob's BMW in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the GS.  The goal in the scavenger hunt is to go around to interesting (mostly historic) locations and get pictures of yourself with your bike at that location.  One location was this quirky little museum near York Springs, PA.  I went there on a ride I planned that gathered a whole lot of points from a whole lot of locations.  So it was late in the day when I got there, 3:45 pm to be exact.  Well, it looked like a cool place to visit but it closes at 4:00 pm and I had a few more locations I wanted to ride to before the sun set.  So I took a picture, made mental note of the place, and promised myself I would get back there.  Preferably with some motor head friends who would also enjoy it.

My First Planned Ride

A couple of weeks later, I planned a ride using Miles-by-Motorcycle.  I had tinkered with M-by-M a little but never made a real plan.  This was my first attempt.  We criss-crossed the Potomac on a handful of bridges and hit quite a few squiggly roads along the way. By all accounts of the riders who joined me it was a success.  Very encouraging.  Before the ride was even over I started thinking about how I might use the platform again to plan another ride.  Maybe I would plan a ride up to the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing.  Fun, right?

"Curvature" Website

Not long after that ride, one of our riders posted a link on Facebook to an article in Car and Driver.  The article was about a guy named Adam Franco who, using the same underlying open street maps that power M-by-M, had built a system for calculating the curvature of roads.  The site is called Curvature.  His system generates maps that mark twisty roads with a color code indicating how twisty they are.  Cool idea, right?

Marrying Two Cool Ideas

That's when I started planning this ride.  What if I could plan a ride to the EMMR using roads marked as "twisty" on the Curvature website?  I opened Curvature in one browser window, and Miles-by-Motorcycle in another.  I went back and forth, looking at sections of road on Curvature, and then marking routes on Miles-by-Motorcycle.  Occasionally I also referred to Google Maps just to find things and to check different views of the roads. 

At first, I just made disconnected segments, concentrating on just the Curvature roads that looked twisty and that could potentially be part of the overall plan.  I made a disjointed map of those using a separate plan.  Then, using what I think is a cool feature in M-by-M I added those segments to the ride plan I had for this ride, and started adding connecting routes.

I put together what I thought was a pretty good plan.  Lots of twisty roads.  Some were major roads.  Some roads I wasn't too sure if they were paved.  I used Google Maps street view to look at sections I was worried about.  Naturally, Google Maps does not have street view for all sections of all roads, so as of this writing, I'm still not 100% sure the plan I made is all paved.  But I would say I'm 90% sure. 

This ride is in late November.  Brrr!  Weather predictions are pretty good for this time of year but the sun still goes down at 4:50 pm on the planned day of the ride.  So what's the problem?  I made the ride too long.  It was over 200 miles when I was finished stitching together the pieces.  Normally I wouldn't find that too daunting, but short days, other riders, time spent indoors during a pandemic looking at fun old stuff... I could see that it wasn't going to be a short day.  The way I had planned it, we would be riding home in the dark with temperatures dropping quickly. 

The Chainsaw Comes Out

They say that editing starts with a scalpel and ends with a chain saw.  I had spent hours putting together what seemed on the surface like a good ride, but it wasn't going to work out.  So, I saved that plan and we'll just have to ride it next summer or something.  Then it came down to a choice.  Super-slab it part of the day and keep the EMMR in the plan, or cut out the part of the loop that included the museum and focus on the Curvature roads.  I opted for the latter.

More to come...

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