#269: Hill limiter

In Summer, I often see people enduring a long-distance cycling holiday. My personal view is that they tend to be carrying way too much stuff on handlebars, rear rack and two double sets of panniers, one on each wheel. Many of these people must thrive on the challenge presented by mountain roads, on which even the most helpful gearing allows progress upwards at only a snail’s pace.

Most people, however, are not King of the Mountains and would appreciate a less steep route, where they could view the scenery without gasping for breath all the way.


Today’s invention is a web-based tool designed to help them plan a cycle route between any two locations, subject to a maximum combination of local gradient and its duration. This would mean that cyclists could enter start and end locations and their estimate of how long they could pedal upwards at what rate without discomfort (based on experience of their previous efforts or lab data).

A program running on the webserver would check a very large number of possible routes and provide some alternatives, each with a maximum (gradient*duration) less than the allowed threshold. Obviously, if no routes were available, it would be time to grit one’s teeth for a sharper ascent or opt for a different destination. This would result in a printable (lightweight) section of map with the route marked for each day’s ride.

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