Cycling has skyrocketed in popularity over recent years. As a low-impact, high-endurance sport, its is almost unmatched by any other form of exercise for its incredible health benefits. Jumping on your bike every day can help improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, tone muscle, promote a healthy circulation and has even been shown to improve mental wellbeing.
Similarly, with worries of global warming becoming increasingly immediate, many are opting for this green mode of transport to help reduce their carbon footprint. Switching up your commute, and jumping on a bike instead of driving, could not only revolutionize your health, but it could also help the planet!
Thanks to the internet, it’s now easier than ever to get into cycling. There are endless great online resources that can help you with route planning and add an extra level of convenience to your cycling excursions.
Biking is taking over the internet, with so many great websites now available to get your fill of all things two-wheels. These come in a range of formats; from digital bike magazines to practical online maps. The latter of these is perhaps one of the greatest tools available if you want to plan a route.
Bikely is by far one of the most useful options available. It’s incredibly basic user interface may not look flashy, but it hosts an incredible number of routes to explore. The paths are all cyclist-friendly and have been submitted by locals. You can even sort by distance if you’re cycling for fitness reasons.
A similar and equally fantastic resource is Ride The City. This website notes the potential perils of urban riding and provides users the opportunity to map out safe and efficient routes, prioritizing bike paths and low-traffic areas.
For a full list of great route planning websites, check out this article by MakeUseOf.
Perhaps the only thing more convenient that being able to check a website is using an app. You can easily download these handy little pieces of software onto all devices so, no matter where you are, you have instant access to route planning tools. This makes it easier than ever to cycle to a friend’s house or take an alternative route home from the office.
Most of these apps work in similar ways. Basic options, such as MapMyRide and BikeMap.net, allow you to choose from thousands of pre-determined routes internationally. They also let you create your own, which is a great option if you stumble across a handy shortcut or a particularly scenic path.
Some of the more advanced app options also include GPS features and tracking options for speed, heart rate, distance, etc. Because of this, you simply have to do your research and pick the best one for you.
If you’re cycling purely for enjoyment or fitness, instead of having to make a set commute, often the best way to find great routes in your area is to join up with likeminded individuals and ride together. Doing this is sure to help you uncover secret trails, amazing climbs, and picturesque unknown backroads.
Once again, thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to link up with your local cycle teams. Most areas will have at least one club that will go out several times a week on a pre-determined ride. As soon as you become part of these groups, there’ll be no end to the cycling routes you can uncover.
Finding your club can be as simple as googling your local area with the word ‘cycling club’. However, there are also some great sites that can lend a hand if this doesn’t produce any results.
Sometimes planning a route isn’t about finding the best places to spend your leisure time. Often, if you’re a commuting cyclist, it’s more about simply navigating from A to B.
While, pre-internet, this would have been done with physical cycle maps of the local area, relying on these paper copies can have significant downfalls. Often they only cover small regions, so not only do you have to carry a huge wad of paper around with you, it can start adding up to purchase all the ones you need. Plus, have you ever tried to use a paper map in the rain? It’s not usually successful.
Fortunately, the advent of Google Maps has pretty much made the paper map obsolete. So long as you have an internet connection, no matter where you are, you can search for two locations and find the quickest route. The tool also offers a ‘bike’ option, which will prioritize cycle paths and bridleways, so you don’t have to worry about ending up on busy freeways.
Invest In A Garmin
Garmin is by far one of the leading cycling technology companies and provides a whole range of products that cover all of your biking needs. In essence, Garmin is a GPS tracker, with a whole host of other uses. Alongside planning routes, mapping your location and tracking your speed, it also has an option to connect a heart rate monitor to get real-time updates on how your health improves.
The device uses computer programs to help you plan your route and then downloads the data directly onto your Garmin so you can take it with you and use it for directions. It’s now even possible to install a ride that you plan on Google maps, straight onto your device.
There is a whole range of Garmin products available that offer a variety of additional features and vary drastically in price. It’s recommended that you do some research and chose the best for you. Once you’ve decided, this simple guide will show you how to use your device to map and follow routes.
The benefits of cycling are undeniable and, as more and more of us gravitate to the sport, endless great digital tools are being developed to support your pursuits.
If you have another awesome tactic for planning the best bike routes around your city, and it is not mentioned here, be sure to leave a comment below to share your ideas with fellow cyclists and health lovers.