View Full Version : Pointless Prize # somethingorother: the Suburban Labyrinth

02-24-2016, 12:10 PM
New pointless prize on offer: the Suburban Labyrinth prize, aka “you can’t get there from here”. Inspired by my aimless meanderings last night earning a handful of points for team 11, but also by a cycling/walking pet peeve of mine, the part where most of suburbia is not built with connecting neighborhood streets so getting anywhere you might want to go necessarily involves using a main road with car traffic and higher speed limits. Anyway, the prize is for the ride with the highest density of dead ends. Go for a ride, with a minimum of 3 total miles (I want you out riding around a neighborhood somewhere, not just up and down the cul de sac you live on). Ride down all the cul-de-sac and dead end roads you can find. Add them up. Divide by the total miles of your ride. The ride with the highest resulting number wins.

1) Each dead end counts only once, no matter how many times you ride down it.
2) Your ride has to be continuous. No stopping Strava to ride from one dead end street to the next.
3) Circles count IF there are no connections or branches off of them. If you have a circle with cul de sacs branching off of it, each individual cul de sac counts (assuming you ride down them all), but the circle itself does not. If the circle just loops back on itself with no branches or connections, it counts as a dead end. This circle here that I did not ride on is a non-connecting dead end and would count, had I ridden around it.

So for example, my ride last night https://www.strava.com/activities/500888630 has 14 dead ends in a 10.4 mile ride, for a dead-end density of 1.35. I wasn’t trying very hard, so you can do much much better than this.

02-24-2016, 12:44 PM
Not sure this one quite qualifies for your criteria. But this ride deserves a prize for something, and I couldn't justify it for "Strava Art" because it was totally random.


Here's the Strava route, with pictures (https://www.strava.com/activities/498947027).

This Labyrinth was created when I set out to find more sites on the Arlington Visual Art Bike Tour (http://www.bikearlington.com/tasks/sites/bike/assets/file/tours/art_tour10-2010.pdf). I rode the Custis down to Court House, then picked off points heading generally back towards Ballston. Problem is, most of the sites are on Clarendon Blvd, which is one way the wrong way. So I kept ducking out to Wilson Blvd, then back, and went around several blocks trying to find the next building or sculpture.

It's a continuous line of mostly riding and some walking. I painted Court House red trying to find a mural that was inside a locked building. There was a diversion back to Court House when Peter called, and rode up from TR Island to meet me. There was another detour to Harris Teeter's bakery for doughnuts. Then we got caught in a downpour on the way home. Good times!

It's not Strava art, it's not dead ends, it's just a very stupid ride greatly influenced by the given infrastructure. Which seems to meet the spirit of your challenge, but you be the judge. I'm not sure how you'd score it.

02-24-2016, 12:51 PM
Does there need to be a minimum length to a cul de sac? There are many really short ones in my neighborhood.

02-24-2016, 12:56 PM
I love the idea of this one, because these types of cul de sacs drive me nuts. My in-laws are gated community types and always live on roads like this, but their old house in Richmond was the worst...3.5 miles to get to their backyard neighbors.


Tim Kelley
02-24-2016, 12:57 PM
I'll one up you!

Sprawl Madness: Two Houses Share Backyard, Separated by 7 Miles of Roads (http://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/02/28/sprawl-madness-two-houses-share-backyard-separated-by-7-miles-of-roads/)

02-24-2016, 01:04 PM
Does there need to be a minimum length to a cul de sac? There are many really short ones in my neighborhood.

I hadn't intended there to be, no. It should be an actual street with multiple houses/structures, not a longish driveway with one house or building at the end of it. If you have an abundance of riches in your neighborhood, go for it.

02-24-2016, 01:06 PM
I'll one up you!

Sprawl Madness: Two Houses Share Backyard, Separated by 7 Miles of Roads (http://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/02/28/sprawl-madness-two-houses-share-backyard-separated-by-7-miles-of-roads/)

I knew it was Florida without even clicking the link...

02-26-2016, 09:35 PM

33/8.2 = 4.02 dead-end density. I am not sure if mile 4.8 to 5.1 loop should be count. If not count, then 32/8.2=3.90

02-27-2016, 07:47 AM
The circle counts. 4.02 it is.

02-27-2016, 02:06 PM
Perfect day for a JBA ride through my 'hood. I have guests coming into town and I didn't want to be too far from home since I didn't know when they would arrive. I'm sure the joggers I passed multiple times must have thought I was insane. I thought about explaining the side-bet but thought better of it since it would probably only confirm their suspicions.

I counted 75 dead ends, I think. (I lost count the first few times I tried.) With 26.6 miles, that's a very noncompetitive ratio of 2.82.


02-27-2016, 02:12 PM
Road with my daughter around our neighborhood this afternoon. I count 18 Cul de sacs in 6.1 miles. 2.9 ratio.

02-27-2016, 02:32 PM

I count 47 qualifying dead ends over 14.8 miles, for a ratio of 3.2.

Brn Moore
02-27-2016, 04:38 PM
Paging greenbelt, come in greenbelt...have we got a transit/streetscape planning challenge with your name on it or what!

02-29-2016, 10:36 AM
What do you think about doing this by jurisdiction? Though, the best route I've developed in DC, so maybe no need.

03-14-2016, 09:05 AM
I'll throw this one out there: https://www.strava.com/activities/506098125

I was going to re-ride this one to see if I could get a petter GPS track, but I don't think that's going to happen in the remaining few days. You can see that there's a T that didn't get recorded properly, and also a place where the track cuts across part of the neighborhood. Just going by what was recorded (only counting that T as one, for example) it looks like 19 dead ends in 3.9 miles, I think. Ratio is 4.87; pretty good for a sloppy iPhone-Strava-recorded ride.

03-18-2016, 01:41 PM
Two more days (counting today) to try to beat dkel's 4.87 and win a unique hand-made coffee-making device (mug included!!!!) that might or might not make decent coffee in the hands of someone who knows what to do with it!!!

The new pourover cones in the studio, and the bike that brought them home.



I've tried them out a couple times, and think they flowed a bit fast, but that was at least partly because I didn't know what I'm doing. I'm working on my technique. Anyway, it tasted like coffee, if a bit weak.

I'm planning to keep the blue one and give the raspberry one away as the suburban labyrinth prize.

04-01-2016, 08:45 AM
Morning coffee in the suburban labyrinth prize!


Coffee was already made this morning (thanks Rockford!), so I haven't tried the filter basket yet.