When I ride a lot in the summer, I get so bored with the same old routes over and over again. Finding new routes is time consuming. Just going out and following the road can cause you to end up in the middle of a rotary muttering every filthy thing you can think of. I end up cobbling together different routes from parts of other routes, a little bike path here, a little Mystic Valley Parkway there. Sometimes, I just need some new scenery.
Here's some ways I like to find new routes:
~Cycling sites are never a bad place to start. We've gotten some great routes that way this year. Bike shops also sell maps but they can be expensive.
~When mapping, I like to use Google maps for directions and MapMyRide for mileage. One of the really helpful things that Google maps does is it allows you to zoom in to street level live pictures. This is excellent for getting a look at some of the crazy intersections they have around here. It is also a good way to see if a route is shady or sunny. MapMyRide is good for getting mileage on shorter routes and loops but tends to crap out if you are doing a ride longer than 50 miles. I kind of have a love-hate thing going with that site.
~Getting across any major highway can be tricky. Route 128 is about an even 10 miles from here in any direction so I'm going to have to deal with it on any longer ride I do. I try to never, ever cross a highway using a road that has a highway exit on it. People coming off the highway still have highway mind and it takes them a while to change back to "You're back on a regular road and LOOK OUT FOR THE BIKE!" mind. Don't ask me how I know.
~Don't pick anything with too many twists and turns unless you have a printed cue sheet and sometimes not even then. It can be easy to get lost. Stef's iPhone has come in very handy this year. We got real lost back in May sometime. She texted her husband "We're lost." He texted back "Use the phone, Luke." We did and it has come in handy on many occasions.
~On the other hand, picking more main drag routes can be a problem because of traffic. Numbered highways with three digit numbers tend to be direct, easy to follow and also much less busy than one or two digit highways. Always double check them on the Google, though, so you don't end up in that traffic rotary.
Picking routes can be an adventure in itself but necessary to stave off boredom. So, good luck out there and let me know if you have any favorite routes.