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FAQ

Are there any options to avoid certain types of path?

Yes! We now have a ‘paved only’ option, which avoids all gravel, earth and other unpaved surfaces. This takes up a whole bunch of memory on our servers, but so many people asked for it, we thought it was worthwhile. 

The fast speed of our route-planner works means that it isn’t feasible to add lots more options: basically, the speed comes from precalculating all the best routes, which requires more memory, which means more expensive servers. But we aim to make it easy for you to adjust the route (by dragging) if there are sections you want to avoid.

Alternatively, you can turn the route-planner off between any two points, by clicking the first of the points and choosing ‘Go direct’ to the next one. This means you can plan a short stretch on a busy road even if cycle.travel doesn’t recommend it.

(If you want to read up on the maths behind cycle.travel’s super-fast routing algorithm, it’s known as Contraction Hierarchies.)

Why is the total climb different from my GPS or some other site?

Calculating the total climb of a ride is notoriously difficult!

cycle.travel, like most route-planners, uses a worldwide grid of elevation data. When it’s calculating the elevation for a route, it looks up each point on a grid, and works it out by averaging the nearest points. It then calculates out the amount you’ll climb over the course of your ride by looking at the elevation difference between points.

Sounds simple? If only. On its own, this method leads to a lot of little fluctuations that aren’t reflected in the road/path you’ll ride. It doesn’t take any account of tunnels or bridges, where you’re not riding at ground level. And in areas where the road follows a steep-sided valleys, like the Alps, it can sometimes appear that the road is further up the hill than it actually is – causing lots of little ups and downs that aren’t there.

cycle.travel does a lot of extra calculation to minimise these effects and make the total figure more accurate. We think our figures are among the most accurate there are. But because different route-planners (and GPS units) use their own calculation methods, comparing figures from two sites will invariably result in a discrepancy. We’d suggest that you use the total climb as a guide to determining which of two cycle.travel routes will be the hilliest, rather than as a gospel fact.

Can you add more countries?

As explained above, the fast speed of our route-planner is very hardware-intensive. In other words, adding more countries means renting more expensive servers!

We launched as UK-only; since then, we’ve gradually expanded our coverage to include the rest of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

(We also believe in doing things properly. We have custom routing rules for different countries – we don’t just apply the same rules to every country, as most route-planners do.)

Can I send routes to my Wahoo GPS?

Unfortunately Wahoo don’t yet provide a upload facility like Garmin Connect. Until they make that available, you can download a GPX or TCX file using the ‘GPS’ button, then manually transfer the file using the Wahoo app on your smartphone.

Does cycle.travel have a mobile app?

We’re developing an iPhone app at the moment and plan for it to be available soon, with Android to follow afterwards.

Does cycle.travel have an API?

Our costs are covered by advertising, the commission from hotel bookings, and support from users, so we can’t offer a free routing API. However, if you do want to use our mapping and routing, drop us a line and we can chat.

If you’re looking for custom development work on cycle routing or cartography, our editor Richard Fairhurst would be delighted to talk to you. If you are looking for an off-the-shelf UK cycle routing API, we recommend you talk to the lovely people at CycleStreets. If you are looking for map tiles, talk to the equally nice people at Thunderforest.

How can I support cycle.travel?

Thank you! You can make a donation to us via Patreon. But you can also help by spreading the word about cycle.travel to your fellow cyclists.

Unlike many other route-planners, we don’t have external funding from venture capitalists or investors – we’re entirely independent. So your support makes a big difference.

I have more questions!

No problem. Ask away at our forum.