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Find out more about how to use cycle.travel’s map and cycle route planner.
It’s this easy:
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 the new end of your route.
You can remove a via point by clicking on it and selecting ‘Remove via’ in the popup.
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 comes from OpenStreetMap. OSM doesn’t usually have house numbers recorded, so just type the street without a number.
You can add a via point at a named place, too. Click ‘Add at…’ and type the name.
cycle.travel aims to choose a balanced route that prefers smooth surfaces, but will sometimes go off-pavement 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. (On mobile, just click the word ‘Any’ and it’ll change to ‘Paved’.)
To get the best out of cycle.travel, remember that it’s a route-planner more than a plotter. In other words, its aim is to find you a great route from A to B, not to draw a route you already know. (There are lots of other sites that do that!)
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’. cycle.travel will try to find you a different return journey. (Note that sometimes it won’t be different, particularly on short journeys or in areas with few roads.)
Or if you just want a ride but you don’t mind where, cycle.travel 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.
All things being equal, cycle.travel prefers paved routes. But if a dedicated cycleway is unpaved, or it’d save a stretch on a busy or hilly road, cycle.travel will 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’.
You’ll need a (free) account on cycle.travel to save your route. You can create an account by clicking ‘Log in to save routes’, or at the top of the page, ‘My bike’. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, you can log in with that.
Once your account is set up, you can just click ‘Save’ to give your route a name and save it. Your routes are listed on the left of the screen; on the ‘Routes’ tab on mobile; and under ‘My bike > Journeys’.
Since launching cycle.travel in 2013, we’re delighted to have become the route-planner of choice for thousands of bike tourers, recreational riders and city commuters.
But our number one requested feature has always been from road bikers – who love cycle.travel’s routing on quiet lanes and cycleways, but want a guarantee that they’ll never be sent off-road onto gravel or earth.
That day is now here. You can now choose “paved only” when planning your route, and cycle.travel will stick to asphalt roads, cycleways and bikeable paths. Just click the new toggle switch:
All our route-planner features are still usable in paved mode – route suggestions, round-trips, draggable via points – and it’s as fast as ever. Better still, you can switch between route types during a journey: just set a via point, then click that point and choose ‘paved’ or ‘any way’.
Head over to our map and route-planner to get started.
Our route-planner and maps are always free to use. Several users have asked for a way to support the site.
If you’d like to show your support, you can now make a donation via Patreon, the number one site for supporting online creators. All supporters will get a regular monthly newsletter with the latest news, tips and reflections from cycle.travel.
You can now use cycle.travel to plan a route anywhere in Europe – from the Adriatic to the Baltic and beyond.
We’ve expanded our map and route-planner to include Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. It’s all with the same lightning-fast route-planner that hates busy roads and loves quiet lanes and cycleways. You can plan a round-trip from Athens to Norway’s North Cape in seconds – a full 6,819 miles there and back. Try it!
We’re always fine-tuning our calculations to ensure the best routing. The latest changes, now rolled out across the whole of Europe and North America, include special logic to avoid really steep hills; smarter routing away from busy multi-lane roads in cities; and clearer turn instructions in rural areas. We also tweak our routing in specific regions to take account of local cycling characteristics: recent changes here include better handling of London’s new Quietway routes, and a more sceptical approach to several US states where designated cycle routes follow busy, dangerous routes. Meanwhile, we’ve also updated our cartography to have clearer, more attractive hillshading.
Countless bike tourists are now using cycle.travel to plan cycling expeditions across Europe and North America. The feedback from cyclists who’ve had happy holidays following a cycle.travel route is the best part of running the site (check out this 33-page thread on the Cycling UK forum) – thank you all so much for your support. Our traffic for 2018 is up almost 100% on 2017 and we have big plans for 2019, so stay tuned!
Our newly added countries are:
No, we’re not suggesting the use of performance-enhancing substances (apart from cake), but when you absolutely have to take that shortcut…
When you’re planning a route with cycle.travel, sometimes you just want to take the direct route between two points. Maybe there’s a path that (horror of horrors!) is missing from OpenStreetMap, our map data source; maybe cycle.travel is trying fervently to keep you off a busy road, and you’d rather grit your teeth and ride on; or maybe you just want to make like Lance and engage in a bit of accidental cyclocross.
It’s pretty easy. Just plot your via points as normal, then click the one where you want to go off piste, and choose ‘Go direct’:
And voila, routing en direct. As they say on all the best descents in France.
Other new features on our route-planner include PDF ‘cue sheets’ for turn-by-turn directions; coverage of Slovakia and Hungary; improved GPX and TCX export for your GPS unit or phone apps; and dozens of little tweaks to make the routing even better. Head over to the route-planner and try them out for yourself.
Scotland’s canals are run by a Government body with the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin name of Scottish Canals. All four of them are open for cycling.
Fort William to Inverness. This waterway along the Great Glen joins several lochs, including Loch Ness, with several canal sections. The canal was built with a towpath but the lochs obviously weren’t! For cyclists, the best route is along NCN 78 (the Caledonian Way), which links the gravelly canal towpath with forestry tracks, a converted railway path, and minor roads. It’s not ideal for fast road bikes but fine on anything that can handle a bit of gravel.
Lochgilphead to Crinan. Famously pretty yacht canal that shortens the route to the Hebrides. Fully suitable for cyclists, and part of the long-distance Caledonian Way.
Glasgow–Falkirk and Falkirk–Edinburgh. A continuous towpath cycling route between Scotland’s two greatest cities. In Glasgow, there’s a spur from the main route at Maryhill towards the city centre. Otherwise, you can continue to Port Dundas along the canal, and from there to Dumbarton on a tarmac cycleway. The surface is generally good, often light gravel though occasionally a little muddy: the Union Canal is the more erratic of the two. Signposted throughout as NCN route 754.