CT Bike Routes Graphic
Home-Seach Button About Button Submit Rides Button Feedback Button Credits Button
Comments Pertaining
to All Rides
About the
Route Sheets & Maps
About the
Project's Genesis
The Genesis of the Project
In 1996 or 1997 I became keenly interested in recreational bicycle road riding and, looking for the companionship of folks with similar interests, joined a couple of local bike clubs to tap into their group rides. One thing led to another and I soon found myself leading group rides. As a ride leader I was always looking for interesting routes and I found myself collecting the route sheets of the rides that I participated in and cataloging them in my personal computer. I also made it known to my biking friends that I was interested in obtaining new ride routes and soon these folks were providing me with significant numbers of new and interesting rides. Through the years, my portfolio of rides continued to grow and it now consists of over 250 rides.
A couple years ago I started to think about a way that the rides in my portfolio could be made available to other interested bicyclists. I got the idea that a collaborator would be helpful, especially if he had some skill in computer production techniques to go along with his bicycling interests. I chatted with Doug McKain during the 2003 riding season and he allowed as how it might be fun to get involved. Doug is not only an exceptionally experienced rider, but can also retain many of the details of rides. His skills have become paramount to the success of the project.
Doug's and my initial thrust was to tidy up the documentation for all rides in the portfolio by devising a consistent route sheet format. This resulted in the four-quadrant route sheet found on the website. The task of retyping the route sheets into this format was completed by the end of 2004.
Note: Folded, this route sheet fits neatly into a 6 x 6 inch clear-plastic route sheet holder that fastens to a bicycle's handlebars with two Velcro straps a device that many of us use; it is the Cyco Active Products "Barmap" and can be found in the Campmor catalog.
We also reviewed and edited a ride summary for each ride, which provides an overview of the ride including the starting location, the length of the ride, facilties, attractions, etc.
Our thoughts then turned to how to produce and distribute the final product. Initially, we thought of a traditional paper publication, but deemed that impractical because of the production costs, the difficulty in distribution, and the fact that there would be no practical way to make a copy of the route sheet for use during a ride. Next, we thought carefully about placing the rides onto a CD ROM, a doable concept that wouldn't be hugely expensive and had some definite size and distribution advantages over a paper-based product. The ride documentation could be viewed on the computer and copies of both could be printed from the CD ROM. This was our thinking until mid-2004 when Rich Lenoce, a biking friend of Doug's and mine, who runs and teaches a Media Production Program at Middlesex Community College, had a better idea.
Rich suggested that we put the rides on a website. Rich said that he had a friend who could assist with the data base design and he, Rich, had skills with website design and production. The technology certainly seemed to be within reach. During a ride in October 2004 I happened to be chatting with Jerry Spignesi about our website plans. Jerry, unbeknownst to me at the time, is employed by RECOL, a New Haven based Internet Service Provider for businesses. One of RECOLs owners, Jake Epstein, is a long-time biking acquaintance of mine, and he and Jerry decided to support this effort to the biking community. That sealed the deal and we were now heading down the website path.
During Rich's semester break at the end of 2004, he interfaced with his database developing friend, Joe Arcuri. Joe and his company, DAVEX Technology and Consulting, create sophisticated web solutions for business and this search engine was right up Joe's alley. Joe completed the majority of the data base design in a heartbeat, and after some interface with RECOL, the site came on line in January 2005. In February, we began inputting rides onto the website.
Update: Over the years, we have gotten several requests to map our rides and add the maps to the site. Putting together the site and maintaining all the rides has been a daunting task so taking nearly 500 rides and converting them to maps just wasn't a challenge we were technically or emotionally ready to undertake. Unbeknownst to us, a user of our site, Rami Haddad, began converting the rides to maps using GPS data and presented the few rides he had mapped to us. Rami had been hoping over about two years, that maybe we'd add maps on our own and, when it didn't happen, he decided to nudge us. We're happy he did. In late 2011, we began a discussion about how we could integrate his maps into our website. It so happened Rami is also a computer programmer and web developer and could make the necessary additions to the site. In early 2012, Rami began work on the site additions and with Rich's recommendations maps were implemented into the website by the start of the ride season.
I am extremely grateful to those named in the above paragraphs, especially to my two collaborators, and to the numerous bicycling friends that I have made over the past decade, many of whom contributed to this project in material ways and by providing their general support and encouragement. The project has been fun and we hope that it proves to be beneficial to the Connecticut bicycling community and to other cyclists who are visiting Connecticut, a state with outstanding bicycling.
Don Shildneck, 6/27/05, update 3/4/12
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

DISCLAIMER: While every attempt has been made to assure that the Route Sheets (Cue Sheets) and the Ride Descriptions are accurate, the volume and nature of the information precludes any guarantees. Mistakes will happen, various road/street signs will get changed, become obscured or disappear, etc. In general, Murphy's Law will prevail. For this reason, use the ride information provided at your own risk. We suggest that, in addition to the Route Sheets provided here, that you also bring with you a detailed street map of the area in which you will be riding. And, we hope that you will take the time to report any problems you find. Also, this website has been developed voluntarily; no one is profiting from its use. Email us with any comments or feedback to
feedback@ctbikeroutes.org