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Organise your routes

You can organise your saved journeys by going to ‘My bike’ and clicking ‘Journeys’. You’ll see a list of all your saved journeys.

Working with folders

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.

Seeing an entire folder on a map

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!)

Journey properties

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.

Making a copy of a route

To make a copy of an existing route, simply open it in the route-planner as usual, click Save, and type a new name.

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:

Drawing straight lines

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.

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’.

PDFs

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.

Turn-by-turn directions

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)’. 

Your preferences

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.

How cycle.travel is different

We won’t let you down

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. Overall, we think cycle.travel finds quieter, better routes than any other route-planner. Our users have ridden thousand-mile routes across Europe and America and told us they’re delighted with them.

We avoid traffic

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.

A custom bike map

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.

Fast and draggable

It takes cycle.travel just two seconds to calculate and display 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.

We think deeper

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.

On or off road

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.

We’re full of ideas

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?

PDF routebooks

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.

It’s the little things

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.

…and it’s free!

GPS

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.

Under the hood

Our maps are made using open data from OpenStreetMap, licensed under the Open Database Licence; with additional UK data from Ordnance Survey, licensed under the Open Government Licence (© Crown copyright and database right 2019), and additional Canadian data from StatCan (Geography Division, Statistics Canada). Additional UK data from the Department for Transport under the Open Government Licence; additional US data from federal sources; additional French data from départements under Licence Ouverte and the Open Database Licence; additional Australian data from the governments of NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Help improve these maps!

OpenStreetMap is made by people like you. If a cycle path, road, pub or café is missing, just head in and add it. It’ll then be available to thousands of other cyclists using cycle.travel, OpenCycleMap, CycleStreets, Sustrans’ printed maps and many other projects: we all take the same data and add our own spin to it.

Here at cycle.travel we’ve supported OpenStreetMap since its first months back in 2004; we’ve mapped countless miles of cycle routes and contributed a lot of the code that’s been used in the project over the years.

How cycle.travel uses OSM data

We aim to take updates from OpenStreetMap every month: it then takes around three days to do all the calculations to find the best routes. Here’s the date on which we last updated the data.

We do a lot of processing work to make the raw OSM map as useful as possible for cyclists (several thousand lines of code!). If you’re editing OSM, here are some of the things to keep in mind:

We also use Ordnance Survey data for UK built-up areas, Corine data for European built-up areas, and government open data for North America. We use both Ordnance Survey and NASA data for elevation.

If you find something missing or misleading in our maps and directions, head over to OpenStreetMap to fix it. But if OSM’s right, and cycle.travel isn’t doing what you’d expect with the data, we want to know. Post in the cycle.travel site forum and let us know what you think.

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