Become a supporter
We have thousands of hotels and campsites listed on cycle.travel – probably the biggest selection of any route-planner in Europe or America.
You can find accommodation along a route by clicking ‘Find’ on the left, which will look for accommodation all along your planned route. Use the menu beside it to choose from different hotel price-points or campsites.
To look at specific places along a route, click anywhere on the route and choose ‘Nearby accommodation’ from the popup.
Clicking on a campsite will bring up contact details, while clicking on a hotel will take you to an online booking page. We get a small amount of commission from hotel bookings, so any bookings you make all help to support cycle.travel!
Our European campsite listings come from the wonderful ArchiesCampings website.
When you’re planning a trip, you might identify a bunch of possible places to stay. You can save these in your cycle.travel shortlist. (You’ll need to have registered a free cycle.travel account.)
When you find accommodation you like, click ‘Add to shortlist’. It’ll be saved for future use, and the hotel icon will change to a red one with a heart.
Next time that you open the map, you can see your shortlisted accommodation by just clicking the ‘Shortlisted’ button.
You can also view the shortlist by clicking ‘My bike’ then ‘Shortlist’.
There’s a handy map key (or legend) that shows you what the road and symbol colours mean. Click the link at the corner of the screen, by the credits.
When you’ve planned a route, it’s highlighted in blue and green on the map. Blue for paved sections; green for unpaved.
You’ll see summary statistics on the left. These show how much there is of each road type:
From left to right: busy paved road, other paved road, unpaved road, paved cycleway/trail, unpaved trail. You’ll sometimes also see symbols for ferries and pushing your bike.
All map databases have incomplete coverage for roads and trails in the rural US, particularly the Midwest. In particular, surface information is often missing. cycle.travel takes a deliberately cautious approach and tries not to route you along such roads, which are very often unpaved tracks or worse. These roads are shown as thin single-dashed lines when you zoom in. If you know the surface of any such roads, we’d encourage you to create an account on OpenStreetMap and add that information.
cycle.travel supporters can also choose OpenStreetMap, OSM German Style, and Mapbox Satellite as well as cycle.travel’s standard basemap.
You can organise your saved journeys by going to ‘My bike’ and clicking ‘Journeys’. You’ll see a list of all your saved journeys.
You can create folders to store routes in. For example, you might have one folder for your Saturday rides, and another for your upcoming summer tour.
From the Journeys page, click ‘Add’ by the folder list, and type a name. The folder will be created.
You can then move any saved journey into the folder by clicking the little folder icon next to it. You can also save journeys directly into a folder from the map page.
In the folder list, clicking ‘Map’ next to the folder name will show you all the routes in that folder together on one map. Click a route to open it in the route-planner. (There’s a limit of 25 routes on one map, though cycle.travel supporters can have as many as they like!)
On the Journeys page, you can use the icons on the right to download a journey directly as a GPX; rename it; set it as private, so other people can’t see it; put it in a folder; or delete it entirely.
To make a copy of an existing route, simply open it in the route-planner as usual, click Save, and type a new name.
When planning your route, it’s good to know what the road or track quality will be like. Clicking on any section of your planned route will open up a popup, from where you can choose:
Although cycle.travel tries to find the best cyclable route between any two places, there’ll be times when you want to take a direct route that cycle.travel doesn’t permit – for example, on a path where cycling isn’t officially permitted, or on a road that hasn’t made it into the OpenStreetMap source data yet.
You can still plan a route including such a section. Put a via point on either side of the straight line section. (Don’t worry about the no doubt circuitous route it’ll choose.) Then click the first via point, and in the popup bubble, select ‘Go direct’. The route will change to take a straight line to the next via point.
You can see an elevation profile for any route you plan. Just click the elevation button on the left.
Moving your mouse over the elevation profile will show that place on the map, and vice versa. If you drag the route, you’ll see that the elevation profile is updated as you do. The total climb and descent, and the steepest gradient, are listed in the corner of the profile.
You can even click ‘3D’ to see a 3D elevation profile of the route!
There are two additional buttons on the left: one to reverse your route, one to undo the last change you made.
You can delete all the via points before or after a certain point. This is useful if you’re splitting a long route into several sections. Click the point while pressing Control (Command on a Mac), then choose ‘Delete before’ or ‘Delete after’.
cycle.travel can generate a colour map PDF of your journey. First save the journey, then click the ‘PDF’ button. You’ll be asked to choose a scale – City scale is the largest scale (most close-up), Local and Touring are in between, and Long-distance is the smallest scale (most zoomed out). The PDF typically takes a few seconds to generate.
For each journey, detailed turn-by-turn instructions appear in the left-hand panel. You can have a compact printed form of these, called a ‘cue sheet’. Save the journey and click ‘PDF’ as above, but then choose ‘Cue-sheet (instructions only)’.
Creating an account on cycle.travel lets you customise your map preferences. Log in, go to ‘My bike’ then ‘Profile’. Here you can choose miles or kilometres, your average speed and number of miles per day, and whether clicking on the map always adds new via points.
You can also set your home country, which helps cycle.travel guess whether you mean France or Texas when you type ‘Paris’; and your home location, which is used to centre the map when you first view it.
Ending up on a bad road or a muddy track can ruin a day’s ride. So we jump through hoops to find the most enjoyable route for you. Does this look like fun? Or this? They’re genuine recommendations from other route-planners. In each case, cycle.travel finds a quieter, better route. Our users have ridden thousand-mile routes across Europe and America and told us they’re delighted with them.
Most route-planners just base their decisions on the ‘class’ of a road – A road or B road, Interstate or County Road. cycle.travel uses real traffic data (where available) to steer you away from busy roads, no matter what the signs say.
cycle.travel’s base mapping is uniquely designed. It shows small, quiet roads more prominently than other maps do. It shows national and local cycle routes, but not obtrusively. It shows all cafés in rural areas, but thins them out in cities where they’d clutter the map. It uses contours and hill-shading to give you the lie of the land. We don’t just use an off-the-shelf map; we designed our own.
It takes cycle.travel just three seconds to calculate the best route from New York to San Francisco. That’s 3,500 miles. A city route takes a fraction of a second. And if there’s a bit you don’t like? Just use your mouse to drag the route away – it moves with you in real time.
Like most route-planners, cycle.travel uses OpenStreetMap’s wonderful volunteer-created data under the hood. cycle.travel’s developer Richard Fairhurst has been at the heart of OSM since its first months back in 2004, including seven years developing and maintaining the OSM map editing software. That means we know how to make use of OSM data better than anyone. Our algorithms dive deeper into OSM’s intricacies to get great results.
You like good surfaces, we like good surfaces. By default cycle.travel finds you a route on tarmac or good-quality compacted/gravel paths – and highlights the unpaved sections clearly in green. But if you have to stick to tarmac? No problem. Flick the ‘Paved only’ switch and we’ll keep you on the black stuff.
Sometimes you just want to ride, no matter where. cycle.travel will give you ideas for enjoyable routes from where you are now. 20-mile afternoon ride? Overnight to a campsite? A leisurely excursion to a café?
We love paper maps. So we made some. Just click ‘PDF’ and your route is turned into a clear routebook of strip maps, to stash in your pocket or your barbag.
3D elevation graph, cue sheets, clear turn-by-turn prompts, direct links to Street View, bike network points and mountain passes in instructions, downloads in any GPS-compatible format you want… all the little details we put in to make your route-planning easier.