Mn DOT Releases County Level Bicycle Maps
At the request of many cyclists, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has just released the first county level bicycle maps. These 125 PDF maps can be printed on 8.5x11 or 11x17 paper to take with you to navigate during a ride or help you plan for one. While most counties are contained on one map, larger counties have been split into several map sheets.
For those of us that enjoy riding gravel, these maps will help us to better plan out rides throughout the state in areas we may be unfamiliar with. For road cyclists, planning rides on roads with lower traffic and wider shoulders are now possible by using the information contained in the map's legend.
When planning out rides, I would recommend using these county level maps as a base guide while plotting your course with websites like RideWithGPS, MapMyRide, Strava or others that implement Google Maps. Then you can navigate using one of the above mentioned cycling smartphone apps or a gps device and leave the paper map at home. Use the Google Maps satellite mode to verify paved or gravel roads and those with narrow or wide shoulders.
Mn Dot admits that because this is their first effort to show this data on a county scale that there will be some gaps in the information contained in these maps. They welcome your comments to help improve these maps in future versions. Your feedback or recommendations can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.