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Credits and copyright

The mapping and route-planning feature is powered by cycle.travel

Our maps are made using open data from OpenStreetMap, licensed under the Open Database Licence; with additional data from Ordnance Survey and from the Department for Transport, licensed under the Open Government Licence (© Crown copyright and database right 2020).

The information on these maps is recorded by volunteers from the OpenStreetMap project. If you see something that’s missing or wrong, you can become an editor at OpenStreetMap and correct it. We update our maps with the latest OSM data approximately every month.

On the move

It’s easy to plan a route on cycle.travel then get it onto a GPS unit.

Using Garmin Connect

If you have a recent Garmin GPS unit, we recommend using Garmin Connect to transfer your routes.

Make sure you have an account on Garmin Connect as well as your cycle.travel account. Download the Garmin Connect app to your phone, and link it to your GPS via Bluetooth.

Then on cycle.travel, when you've planned and saved your route, click the GPS button. You'll see this:

Click Send to Garmin Connect. A new window will appear asking you to log in and grant permission to cycle.travel. (You’ll only have to do this once!)

Once you’ve done this, your route will be transferred to Garmin Connect as a ‘course’. The Garmin Connect app on your phone can then transfer it via Bluetooth to your GPS unit.

Transferring a route manually

You can also download a ‘GPX track’ file, which can be read by all brands of GPS and many apps. This will show the route as a line on your GPS screen. Click Download GPX track, and the file will be downloaded to your computer or phone. You can then copy it manually to your GPS unit.

Different types of GPS file

There are lots of different formats of GPS file. You can access these by clicking More download options. GPX tracks are simplest, but you can also choose a ‘TCX course’ which includes turn-by-turn prompts. cycle.travel offers these formats:

If you choose a format with turn icons, you can get cycle.travel to position them slightly ahead of each turn. This means any audible warning from your GPS will sound before you get to the turn. Select ‘TCX course’ or ‘GPX route’, then select ‘Announce turns in advance’.

Naming your file

If you download a route from cycle.travel, it will by default simply appear as ‘cycle.travel’ on most GPS devices. To give it a distinct name, save it on cycle.travel before you download it. The name you choose on cycle.travel will be reflected in your download.

Elevation

You can include elevation data in the downloaded file so that it shows up on your GPS unit. To do this, download from the map page (not your journeys page) and click the elevation button so the graph is showing before you download it. Elevation data can be included in GPX routes and all TCX files.

When you use cycle.travel on a mobile phone, you’ll find a few things are different to make best use of the limited screen space.

Click ‘Map’ as usual, and you’ll see a bar at the bottom of the screen with three sections: Map, Directions and Routes.

You’ll also see a three-line menu (‘hamburger menu’) at the top right, which is where you can find useful functions such as saving and downloading your route.

Plotting a route

You can tap to add your start and end points as usual. If you want to add more points, double-tap on the screen (iPhone) or long-press (Android).

Opening your route in another app

You’ll need to install an app that can open GPX files. There are many, but try:

Then back in cycle.travel, plan your route (and save it) and click “Open in phone app”. The route will be downloaded to your phone. It may open automatically in your app, or be downloaded to the Files area of your phone, from where you can click ‘Open in MapOut’ or something similar.

Is there a cycle.travel app?

Not quite yet – but we’re just finalising our iPhone app! Android will follow later.

Advanced features

Researching your route

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 to see it in Google Street View. Note that Street View images are mostly only available for roads, not paths.

You can also click “See photos” to see pictures from the Geograph project, which has good coverage of paths.

Drawing straight lines

Although our route-planner tries to find the best cyclable route between any two places, there’ll be times when you want to take a direct route that it doesn’t permit – for example, on a new road that hasn’t made it into our mapping database yet.

You can draw a straight line to cross such a section. Put a via point on either side of your intended 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.

Elevation

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!

Route tools

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. Right-click the point (or click while pressing Command on a Mac), then choose ‘Delete before’ or ‘Delete after’.

Saving and printing your route

We don’t offer the feature to save your route here on the Worcestershire County Council website, but you can transfer it to cycle.travel, the website that powers our route-planner.

Click “Open in cycle.travel” and your route will be transferred across. You can then create an account on cycle.travel and save your route in that account. cycle.travel also offers facilities to print your route.

Reading the map

The map key

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.

Your planned route

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, pushing section, ferry.

Different map layers

The ‘layer’ icon on the map allows you to switch to the OpenStreetMap map style, which is less clear but shows more features.

Cycle map help

Find out more about how to use our map and cycle route planner.

The basics

It’s this easy:

Adding more points

If the route doesn’t go the way you want, you can simply drag it. A new numbered ‘via point’ will appear.

You can also extend the route by clicking points on the map. On desktop: Tick the option on the left that says ‘Click map to add more points’, then click at the new end of your route. On mobile: Quickly double-tap (iPhone) or long-press (Android) the new end of your route.

You can remove a via point by clicking on it and selecting ‘Remove via’ in the popup.

Finding by street or town name

You can type street or town names for the start/end of your route. A pop-up menu will appear as you type – choose the matching place. Click ‘Get route’ when you’ve chosen the start and end.

Our map data doesn’t have house numbers recorded, so just type the street name and town, not the number.

You can add a via point at a named place, too. Click ‘Add at…’ and type the name.

On a road bike?

We aim to choose a balanced route that prefers smooth surfaces, but sometimes go off-road to avoid hills, busy roads or long detours. If you’re on a road bike, you might prefer to stay on tarmac at all times. Flick the switch from ‘Paths & roads’ to ‘Paved only’ to change this.

Round-trips

Journeys don’t have to be A–B: you can plan circular round-trips too. Choose your start and end points as per usual, then click ‘Round-trip’. We’ll try to find you a different journey for the way back. (Note that sometimes it won’t be different, particularly on short journeys or in areas with few roads.)

Route ideas

If you just want a ride but you don’t mind where, we can do that too. Click just one start place on the map, or type it next to ‘From:’, then click ‘Suggest a ride’. Up to three circular routes will show on the map:

Choose the one you want by clicking on it. You can drag the slider to change the distance.

Unpaved sections

All things being equal, we choose paved routes. But if a dedicated cycleway is unpaved, or it’d save a stretch on a busy or hilly road, we’ll sometimes choose an unpaved route instead.

On the basemap, unpaved trails are shown with brown dots or dashes; unpaved roads have dashed edges. When you plan a route, the unpaved sections are highlighted in green, contrasting with the usual blue.

If you want to stick to paved sections only, then change the toggle beneath the from/to places. You can even restrict just the section between two via points to paved-only: click the first via point to bring up a popup, and change ‘Go any way’ to ‘paved’.

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