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Home-made Atlas for cycling tour (France available)

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Home-made Atlas for cycling tour (France available)

UPDATE May 2015

Hello guys, If you followed the thread below, we spent the winter working on a project of customized road books adapted to cycling travellers (or travelling cyclists).

We thank everyone who was involved in the process, and we are glad and proud to announce that the first Atlas is now ready: France is available in Beta version. You will find all the information on our website, in English, French and Spanish:

We are leaving within a few days to test this Beta version in France, but we are still pending to all your comments and answers, don't hesitate! See you soon, and have lots of WS experiences this summer...


Hello everyone, The "Mallo" part of Marcmallo speaking :)

We are currently working on creating maps adapted to cyclists (the "Marc" part of Marcmallo is a cartographist and specialist in mobility).

WHY? We have noticed that it is not always easy to find a proper map adapted to bike trips/travels. Not always the correct scale, good scale but in too small regions, information on the map not useful for bikes (but interesting info missing), etc. And maps can be quite expensive. And weare quite in love with maps in general (haha).


Make pdf-maps adapted to what we (cyclists) want to see on our maps (we cannot afford a paper-published version and we want to keep a low price for the pdf-version, because travel should be accessible to everyone.) We start working on "our" countries and regions (Spain, France, Belgium), then we'll see how it goes and progressively work on other countries (can be on request).


We already have our ideas, based on our travel experiences... but we would like to know what is YOUR ideal bike-map: which scale, which thype of information on it, what you always miss on the maps you usually find in stores, what your secret dreams about maps are! Please give us your opinion about all this, and maybe one day you'll have this perfect map on the road with you! Thank youuuu :)

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Have you heard of

Have you heard of OpenCycleMap? This is a global map based on OpenStreetMap data with a specific focus for cyclists (trails, cycle networks, bike shops, bike parking...) - this data can be ported to smartphones or gps devices for offline viewing. As its based on OSM anyone can get involved and contribute ideas, data or just through making a donation.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Hi Paul, Yes, we know

Hi Paul,

Yes, we know OpenCycleMap. But we don't have any smartphones or gps with us when we are travelling and we don't want to travel with this type of technologies. We really want (and love) to have a paper map :)

But I used the OSM data to make this "Bike-Road atlas". Moreover, I mix OSM data with other sources of official data. OSM is very useful, but sometimes, there are some lacks in the information provided. For example, I would like to follow a eurovelo route: on OpenCycleMap, I can see the operative parts (finished parts, we can already cycle on it) but with the official data, I can see all the route (adding the missing part of the eurovelo with a colour annotation saying "this part is not operative").

Anyway, we just want offer a paper alternative proposing a road atlas focused on the bike use.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
my favorite maps for touring

Of all of the paper maps that I've used while touring, my favorite maps are the French IGN 1:100,000 series. There is an enormous amount of information on these maps for cyclists who know how to read them and use them. It's easy to identify minor roads which are likely to have little traffic. There is relief on the maps as well as symbols which identify steep hills, and altitude information. The maps also indicate roads deemed to be "picturesque", plus many symbols to indicate things such as castles, ruins, caves, train stations, vineyards, and orchards. Bicycle paths are also shown. The 1:100,000 scale is detailed enough to usually get easily in and out of cities by bicycle without much difficulty.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
What I would like from an

What I would like from an ideal map: a sort of "rating" of the road in terms of beauty of the landscape and surroundings. Something that lets me know if a particular road is panoramic and great to ride on. I never found this feature in a map! Sometimes (e.g. Michelin maps) they put a green line along the road to mark it as "panoramic", but it seems not very realiable to me, and not always true from a cyclist point of view.
Maybe a star rating (1...5) made by tourers would be interesting!

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
hike-bike map

A biking map with informations similar to hiking maps, a map that shows:

-where to find free water, toilet, showers.
-bike routes that are not the fastests but which takes bikers to nice scenery.
-panoramic spots

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Bike Maps

In terms of scale and detail, I have been very satisfied with Bikeline guides and a similar Dutch series. These are route maps and the scale is really too big for a regular map or you could get bogged down with paper. So go with a smaller scale in general but the scale they use for city areas is really perfect. Make it easy for someone to print the overall maps they need and then select the cities/towns for which they want detailed maps.

I generally agree with above comments. I have made several European tours using GPS only on downloaded OSM maps, especially after much frustration and many hours and $$ spent trying to find appropriate maps. Although I admire your own desire to travel electronics-free, most people probably carry a GPS phone today, which is a great backup when you get lost and undoubtedly will affect your market opportunity. However, while the tiny screen is fine for the next 10 miles, it is terrible for the next 50 or 100 miles. You might consider a scale that would be good for planning at that level.

Really, the user should be able to specify the scale they need and which features they want to include in the print. My list of things to include is below.

What to include
- hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites. Phone #s and email for at least some of these
- at least in remote areas and smaller towns, restaurants and food shops, markets and the days and hours they operate
- Bike shops, especially those with repair services
- Tourist offices
- Libraries and other sources of free internet access
- Public toilets and parks with such facilities as well as water fountains
- ATMs
- Train stations, bus stations and stops... for when a cyclist needs to bail.
- Also, phone numbers for taxis
- Ferry docks with access entrances clearly indicated; ferry routes
- Hospitals and urgent care clinics
- Tourist sites by category (one might choose some/all of the categories): museums, churches, noted architecture, historic ruins, ancient sites like neolithic tombs, spots with fine vistas, natural wonders, national/regional parks
- indication of "cyclability" of roads and trails, e.g. using colors to indicate where there is separate, protected or marked bike lanes, wide shoulders as well as areas with no shoulders, high traffic or other conditions affecting safety of cycling. Also indicator of roads and paths that may be impassable or very muddy during rainy times.
- Indication of major construction, detours, missing bridges, etc. with detailed information if required for how to get around these problems.
- For the hardy, it might be nice to have a way to select a view/print of routes that are open and/or recommended during winter and snow.

I would be happy to participate as a reviewer or tester.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真

I don't know if this will help but I use a site called for all my planning. There is a map, satellite, path button the path/track button highlights all the known cycle routes.

If you have any technical questions or suggestions then e mail the site they are continually improving it and its free.

I have used all the other GPS Aps at one time or another but I think Plotaroute is by far the best.


WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Hi everybody !Sorry to not

Hi everybody !

Sorry to not be very present on the forum but I read very cautiously yours comments. They are very helpful.

I'm working now on the beta version for France. The scale would be 1:150.000. I cannot use a minor scale (too many pages). But usually, I use 1:200.000 scale maps and, for me, it's enough to travel inside a big country (Sorry, I'm belgian and for me, France it's a big country :) ) When I have a little time and when I'll have the first version, I will give you the legend, so we'll can discuss about it (about the informations, etc.).

What I will put on the map?

- Road network (source: OSM)
- with a sort of level of traffic information (color of the road)
- Rail-road network

- Cycling network (source: Official data)
- 3 levels of network (european, national and regional & local)
- Type of the cycling path
- Path open or projected (or under construction)
- Distances

- Elevation (various sources):
- contour lines with a gap of 25 meters between each line.
- summits
- mountain pass
- I can put a symbol on strong slope (but I think is too heavy for the map and redundant with the contour lines)

- A detailed soil occupation (OSM data)

- Natural parks and protected areas

- Hydrographic network (with lakes, etc.)

- Toponomy

- Points of Interests:
- Camping sites
(I have the informations about hotels, B&B, etc. but there is too many ! I can make a selection (but I don't have time to make this) or use and existing one but, for now, I prefer not to put this information, too heavy for the map)
- airport and seaport
- castles and others historic and religious elements
- rest areas, picnic areas
- water sources or fountain (where we can have water)
- bathing spots
- points of reference (helping for the orientation)
- landscape points
- Tourist information point (in city)
- Bike shop and adventure stores
I have also the public toilets information, but in the case of France, every town or village have a public toilet. So, when I put this information, it's too heavy. But for others countries, maybe it would be relevant.

The Idea is to have the very relevant informations for the cyclotourist. I cannot put all the informations (This is already a selection). But your comments are very helpful to add something that I missed.

@Margaret: I'll be glad to share the beta version with you (and with anyone) when it will be ready !

Sorry for my badly bad english ;)

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
I forgot to say that I will

I forgot to say that I will add various access maps (for bikes) for big cities and annexes with various types of informations (about bike transportations rules, various links of intersest, etc.)

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
cycle maps

A good symbol for a steep hill is an arrow (like on UK Ordnance Survey maps - awesome!) Two together means it is terribly steep (like a Vuelta stage!)

I also prefer paper maps - if a phone runs out of electric you are stuck. Also at £400 or more for a garmin or similar - the scale is rubbish and the maps are rubbish too - they are just like road maps except in National parks etc... Also, the screens are so small and it is really tricky zooming in and out. Like a Satnav, it is useful for finding somewhere when driving on your own - but to plan a route - its awful!  What if you suddenly want to find a camping spot near a river? you can't program that in...You cannot beat a 1:25000 scale but having a pannier with 17 maps just to travel across half of the uk is a little extreme... A 1:100,000 is good, like the French IGNs, really good maps. But for cyclists water is important, hills are important and for me  - pilgrimage routes/trails etc - like the Viamichelin maps have...

I also agree that scenic routes should have a green line or something. Often you miss a stunning place because you just did not know it was there.

I mark all my OS maps with a tent symbol, when i see a good camping spot - but it would be too much to ask to have wildcamping places on it too...!!!

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
UPDATE May 2015Hello

UPDATE May 2015

Hello guys, If you followed the thread below, we spent the winter working on a project of customized road books adapted to cycling travellers (or travelling cyclists).

We thank everyone who was involved in the process, and we are glad and proud to announce that the first Atlas is now ready: France is available in Beta version. You will find all the information on our website, in English, French and Spanish:

We are leaving within a few days to test this Beta version in France, but we are still pending to all your comments and answers, don't hesitate! See you soon, and have lots of WS experiences this summer...

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
any mention of WS in this Thread ?

Scanning this ( very worthy) Thread, I see no reference to WS, so I wonder why it's here, rather than say at " Crazy Guy.." where a LOT more people would see it. 

I cannot understand why WS should be crowded with *general* bicycle travel information that is well catered for at less specialised bicycle sites. 

The more non-WS material that this website accretes, the more difficult it is to find the real purpose of the organisation - facilitating "Stays' by bicycle travellers with each other.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Purpose of WS forum...?

I thought the forum WAS for general bike travellers stuff...!

The headings and content seem to show that. 

I am on this site but not any other cycle group - it would be really time-consuming to belong to loads of sites just for one hobby... imho...!

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
As Jo states, this forum

As Jo states, this forum section is for [general] information, as is the thread.

To find "stays", as a member one should contact [on a 1:1 basis] other members directly, politely introducing themselves & their tour etc, as opposed to merely posting on forum a 'who can host me tonight' (impersonnel) request.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Hi everyone :D

Hi everyone :D

Jo, you're going exactely in the direction we're taking... 1/100.000 scale is the best (after trying the 150.000, we go back to 100.000), we are going to add arrows for the steep roads (but only in our itineraries, we didn't find any satisfatory way to do it automatically), we are adding a lot of interest points. 
As for "scenic roads", we have finally decided to create seperate small atlases with thematic or regional itineraries that we recommend...
About wildcamping sites, Marc and I have every summer the same discussion: he says it would be so great to have them appear on our maps... and I disagree :p Wild camping (in France and Spain at least) is only tolerated, not officially allowed --> I don't want to send people to someone else's private garden/field. However, it is easy to find on the maps places to wildcamp, thanks to the soil utilisation (forest, field, unused pasture, rocks, etc.)... it's the way we find almost every night a place to sleep ;)

Bicycle Fish, I genuinly think that this "General" section may be the place for such topics... Travelling and meeting other cyclists led us to question our use of the maps, and decide to use our skills to provide some people maps they hadn't found elsewhere. We are not web freaks at all, we are not active on other bike communities (I had no idea about this Crazy Guy), but we are WS hosts/guests so we decided to share our experience here, as we do irl when we meet other cyclists... If some day we find and take the time to go on Crazy Guy on a Bike, it will be thanks to you ;)

Have a nice day, everyone!


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