Cycle Routes Near Me: Finding Your Ideal Route
Admit it, we’ve all gone into Google and searched for ‘cycle routes near me’ ‘best cycling routes’ or something similar to that.
More often than not, the results we get aren’t what we’re looking for. they lack a challenge, which is, personally, what cycling is all about — outside of getting to explore the great outdoors at a decent speed that is.
In this post, we’re going to guide you on how you can find your ideal bike route, one that meets your own expectations (whatever they may be). A lot of what we’re going to cover will be common sense, or info you have a basic understanding of already.
Sure, Google is always an option, but this would be a very short blog if we just told you to go off and use the world’s most used search engine, wouldn’t it?
Expanding your knowledge of the infamous ‘cycle routes near me’ query will help you cut through the bad ones a lot easier, and help you map out your own routes you can share with fellow cyclists!
Now, Let’s get going.
Why The Cycle Routes Near Me Search Is Limiting
It’s important you know why typing in ‘cycle routes near me’ into Google is so limiting before we continue.
The short answer is: it doesn’t take into consideration what type of routes you enjoy if you’re an experienced rider. The only type of cyclist it appeals to are the beginners, those who aren’t as clued in or have never cycled over 3 miles tops as they’ve only ever moved around urban areas.
We find that the best cycling routes are given to us by fellow cyclists, and less so from a direct Google search that outlines routes close to where we are location-wise.
Don’t get us wrong, there’s a lot to learn from a quick search when you lack a deeper understanding of bike routes. We aren’t disputing that.
We’re simply stating that there is an open world out there to explore, and Googling can only go so far if you’re going to frequent the great outdoors on a regular basis.
Knowing that your bike route is your own will only heighten the experience because it’s your own — more so if your friends pick it up too!
Cycling Routes Near Me: There’s no limits to how far you can go on two wheels
Tech Should Still Influence The Bike Routes You Take
Casting aside technology completely when seeking the best cycle routes near me is difficult.
Those who cycle everywhere might be able to find their ideal routes as they’re always trying out and about. But for those that lack the time to experiment, know that you will need to lean on tech to find a route you’re happy with.
You know that saying: ‘there’s an app for that,’ well, that applies to bike routes too, only not all of them were created equal.
Some are better than others.
The best cycle routes near me-inspired apps/websites include:
- Bike Citizens
- Google Maps
Some of these apps/websites are free to use, others you will have to pay to use. Those you pay for tend to have better functionality or features.
Take Komoot for example, which takes notice of many variables that are so often left off other bike route-related services. With Komoot, you can search for cycle routes near you, outlining your current fitness level and how far you want to go down to the mile.
This isn’t an ad for Komoot, we just think it’s pretty nifty to have in your pocket if you’re a cyclist constantly on the move.
Hikers, walkers and cyclists should all have Strava downloaded on their smartphones. Why that is comes down to the community-building nature of the app itself, not to mention the data it displays.
Unlike other cycle routes near me-handy apps, Strava is there to map and track your own routes, or just how far you stray when going off on your own without guidance.
If you’re going to be forming your own routes and want the right tool to share these routes with others, then Strava is the way you do it!
Check It Out Because: You can create your own bike routes and share it with friends a lot easier. Strava is very social driven compared to other apps/sites out there.
‘Never get lost in the woods again’ it says on the Trailforks website — a very on topic statement when you consider the fact that this app/site is a trail database.
One of the great things about this one is how it actively keeps track of trail conditions, so that you’re always clued in on which routes are safer than others.
Those of you looking for mountain bike routes in particular will find Trailforks very handy.
I personally own an electric mountainbike and have used the app many a time, and it’s not let me down yet!
There are other 20,000 routes to discover on the app, which is a lot more than most.
Check It Out Because: It outlines the best mountain bike routes near you. It also keeps track of trail conditions to let you know of any important condition changes.
We’ve touched on Komoot briefly above — it’s the app you do have to pay for.
Like Strava, Komoot is very community focused, in that you can share images of cycling routes and message other cyclists through the app. Having that sense of community only encourages you to try some of the routes outlined with fellow riders.
What Komoot does better than almost every other bike app is in how effective/comprehensive it is when planning bike routes.
One of its tag-lines is ‘know exactly what to expect’ and who would argue that when it records everything from elevation profiles to the surfaces you’ll cover.
Knowing is half the battle when it comes to working out the answer to the infamous cycle routes near me equation.
Trust us, we’d know.
Check It Out Because: This bike routes app is accurate as hell, full of details that you’d typically forget about when riding around.
Looking for an urban-centric bike routes app?
Bike Citizens, formerly known as BikeCityGuide is the answer, especially if you live in parts of Europe.
With this app, you can zone in and out of your favourite locations with ease, knowing that the routes you’ve chosen are worthwhile.
The app is lacking from a design standpoint, but it’s how it performs that matters overall, right?
This app has a free version and a paid version tied to specific cities. For clarity: the app charges you for every major city/country you input.
Check It Out Because: The app is very good at planning routes in urban locations in and around parts of Europe.
We know, we know.
We spent a fair few minutes ripping on why you shouldn’t straight up Google: bike routes near me, but Google Maps is a different case entirely.
Google Maps works in more than 220 countries, and gives you the ability to switch between various different modes to see what the trails you go on will look like either from the top down or from ground level via Street View.
What’s more, Google Maps also keeps tabs on traffic conditions and road closures! Real-time info like this is paramount when out on your bike (electric or otherwise).
Check It Out Because: Google Maps is great at cutting straight to the point and not getting lost in all the additional info.
Do you have an ideal cycling route already mapped out?
How To Find The Best Cycle Routes Near Me
Finding new and interesting routes to take isn’t as easy as it might sound on paper.
Cyclists are creatures of habit in that they always stick to the same routes out of convenience, which is totally find, but most of the fun in cycling is that you can go anywhere and at any time, in our opinion.
We’re going to go against the grain in this section again, in that you won’t need tech to aid you in finding an alternate cycle route.
The tech will always be there if you need it, but there ways to find routes without some additional help.
Cycle Routes Near Me Tip 1: Take Detours
Just because a cycle route is laid out for you does not mean you need to follow it down to the exact turn.
The fun in cycling comes through exploration. So why not use established routes as a rough guide or starting point that you can then repurpose for your own way!
Nothing is set in stone on a cycling route. Yes these routes have a clear start and end point, but if you feel like there’s more to see then there’s nothing stopping you from taking an unfamiliar road to see where you end up.
We do it all the time and have discovered spots that you’d otherwise miss.
Quick Disclaimer: Not every left turn will take you in interesting directions. You will need to turn back at some point as you could end up on private land.
Cycle Routes Near Me Tip 2: Join A Club
Solo riders, this cycle routes near me tip is for you.
If you’re tired of going out on your own and want to feel a sense of companionship in your journeys, then why not join a local cycling club?
New to an area but don’t know of any interesting bike routes around you yet? Joining a cycling club is an excellent opportunity to learn and feel at one with your community.
Chances are these people will know of new and interesting routes too! Clue them in on your own routes in return and help grow the cycling community.
There’s a load of benefits that come from joining these clubs.
Cycle Routes Near Me Tip 2.5: Bike Stores
One of the easiest ways of discovering the best bike routes near you is by simply visiting the closest bike store to you.
The experts within are typically riders themselves, who should have a pretty good idea of where you can go, pending how far you want to go and the type of bike you own exactly.
Cycle Routes Near Me Tip 3: Join A Sportive
For those not in the know, a sportive is a long distance event, a marathon that dozens of cyclists participate in.
These events run for miles, taking place mostly during summer seasons, although there are some winter-orientated ones that are well worth looking into.
Organised events do all the cycle route planning for you, while also giving you the opportunity to interact with other like-minded riders around you.
Again, like with joining a local club, you should ask your fellow cyclists which areas are worth traversing and which you should avoid.
Cycle Routes Near Me Tip 4: Read Forums
There are a bunch of cycling forums out there for you to check out and join.
Bike Forums, Cycle Chat, BikeRadar and Road Bike Review are but a few examples, we’re sure you could find many more that aligns with the type of rider you are and the bike you own.
For example, e bike owners might find that Electric Bike Forum is better suited to them, over say, London Cyclist which is limited to a set location.
Subreddits like r/cycling and r/bicycling are very welcoming, allowing users to interact with each other on all sorts of things, everything from the best bike chains for electric bikes to which are the best mountain bike routes in a specific area.
Bike routes can take you in and out of cities as you head out into nature
Cycle Routes Near Me Tip 5: Use Your Intuition
Intuition will almost always steer you in the right direction. To find the best bike routes near me you kinda need to rely on your gut instincts.
It goes without saying, but your intuition is exclusive to you and your own likes or dislikes.
One riders’ dream route is another’s nightmare.
It’s one of the great things about the cycling community in general: everyone has an opinion and their own ideal routes.
Some of the best bike routes I’ve ever been on were those that I hadn’t really planned ahead for, which works for me but you might not want to leave anything to chance.
That being said, simply going with the flow is often the best way of learning the best cycle routes near you.
Try new routes, from time to time.
There’s an entire world out there to explore on two wheels!
What Makes For The Best Bike Routes
It’s a bit of a cop out to say it, but what makes for the best bike routes will often depend on the rider.
After all, what you should consider about each trip can and will vary.
If you’re going to go off on your own to find bike routes that appeal to you then there are some considerations you should keep in mind.
Using the various cycling route tools at your disposal should answer any burning questions you might have. And remember, asking questions at your local bike store is always an option to if you’re after an in-person answer that’s tailored to you.
How far are you willing to travel on your cycling route, do you want to travel over 50 miles, or do you not have the time to spend a day on your bike?
This should be the first thing you work out, well before you go searching for the best cycle routes near me or use some of the various methods outlined above.
Trails vary in side and difficulty, with the longer trips representing the tougher challenges.
Difficulty will depend on the type of bike you own, of course.
A long range electric bike will make some of the longer distance trails a lot easier than the original static bikes of old. You can travel a lot further if the e bike you own has removable batteries, as it means you can carry spares around with you and change them whenever one runs out of juice.
For Beginners: Stick to cycle routes that are between 5-10 miles in distance
For Experts Anything up to 30 miles or above should be a manageable
Distance and elevation go hand in hand in terms of the main things you should consider — especially when difficulty is concerned.
Higher elevation represents a tougher time for you on your bike as far as effort goes. Why that is comes down to how much effort is needed to get up hills and steep terrain.
Elevation gain in cycling is the total amount you climb in a single ride. For example, climbing 1000 feet, descending 500 feet and then climb another 1000 feet would equal 2000 feet (elevation).
The type of bike you own can make somewhat of a difference, with road bikes giving you a lot more assistance compared to a mountain bike.
E bikes, again, are skilled climbers and should make even the steepest of hills look like child’s play.
Think about the bike you own, and how hilly your route is. Something else to consider: high elevation will extend the time of your trip.
Consider The Terrain
The ground under matters when you go out cycling, but you didn’t need us to tell you that.
Travelling on roads and flat pathways do make for an easier time compared to an off road trail that mixes the wilderness with city locations all within the same loop.
Terrain matters as it determines how much wear and tear there will be on your tires. Cycling over rocks and potentially sharp objects could pose a hazard but you can plan ahead for that by utilising the right tires.
When considering terrain it’s just as important that you keep an eye on the weather, or at least think about what you’ll do if rain or snow enter the picture.
Speaking of the weather…
The elements can be cruel to cyclists, it’s why so many choose to save all of their long distance riding for sunny seasons, to avoid bouts of wet weather.
A quick check of the weather the day before or on the morning of your trip will keep you in the loop.
If you know it’s going to rain, this then allows you to plan ahead by packing a waterproof and a rain cover for your bike if you’re planning on saddling it up somewhere to stop for a break.
Cycling in the snow is a different beast in and of itself.
We’d recommend against it if you can help it — the same goes for icy conditions.
There’s beauty in coming up with your own bike routes
Cycle Routes Near Me: Finding Your Ideal Route
See the benefits in finding your ideal cycle route without relying on a Google search now?
Bike-riding should be an exercise in exploration, not something you stick to. And don’t get it twisted, we love organised cycle routes, we just feel like there’s more to cycling life than following everyone else.
As a general rule of thumb we separate our cycling routes into multiple categories, we have those we’ve created our own, those that you find through apps, and those we’ve been recommended by fellow cyclists.
Every week we alternate between these routes, doing so provides quite a mix, and it means you aren’t driving yourself crazy by following the same path each time.
Try this method out for yourself before you fall victim to heading over to everyone’s favourite search engine and typing in the over-done: ‘cycle routes near me’ query.
Cycle Routes Near Me FAQs
How do I find good cycling routes?
Using cycling apps, asking questions on bike-riding forums, and simply exploring on your own are all ways that you can find good cycling routes. You could also Google it, but we’ve already proven there’s more ways to find your ideal trail.
Does Google Maps show cycling routes?
It does yeah, but we find that it is limited compared to the routes shown on apps/sites like Komoot and Bike Citizens. Google Maps is handy to check for traffic issues or road closures, and seeing what your route will look like via Street View.
Which is the best cycle route app?
There are plenty of cycling-orientated apps out there, each as different as the last when it comes to quality. Strava is probably our favourite, simply because of the social aspect. Through the app you can map your own cycle routes, share them with friends, and check out their routes!