Our biker lives

Find your way – Creating bike routes

0 Comments 22 July 2010

Photo by Jerry Huang

When you go jogging or walking, route planning for your average mortal person is quite easy since the lap usually won’t be larger than 15 kilometers, usually half of that. Since cycling is so much more efficient, 15 kilometers is not even a long trek for someone who has biked even a little (and has their bike setup properly) and then we get to route creation.

The benefits of creating routes are plentiful: First of all, it’s harder to get lost; You can make exercising more interesting by having variation in your routes and third you get to actually plan your route, which allows you to estimate spent time, set goals and monitor your progress. Route creation is also very useful if you have a heart-rate meter with GPS or a similar tool that allows you to upload courses or tracks into it.

I have been using web based services to plan my routes for many years now, but during the last year I’ve used mainly two services. The other one is very specific to the capital area of Finland which I will introduce if you plan to come to Finland and do some biking, the other one is a global tool built on Google Maps and it has some really cool ways to create your route quick and easy.

1. Bikemap.net

What: The best route creation tool we know of, exporting and sharing to social media
Where: http://www.bikemap.net (in English and 16 other languages)

The basics of route creation is super easy, just like drawing a route on a paper map. Normal sites, like Google Maps allow you to create routes (or directions as they call them) from point A to B (or any point in between), but it doesn’t really give you to option to look at a place on a map and click it to add it to your route the same way route creation tools allow you to.

Bikemap.net is a very specific tool as you can guess from its name. It’s up to standards with modern web stuff – you can log in with your Facebook account, share your routes and even import from your GPS device should you have one. Once you are done with route creation, you can export in several formats to use wherever you want and off you go. The service has cool features like showing you the inclination of the route.

The route creation tool in Bikemap.net is is simple to use, it follows roads with the magnet tool and you can get started with it in minutes. You click on a starting point, the next points and then you connect the last point to the starting point and you’re done, I’d guess you can also use the tool to create jogging or walking routes.

If you have any questions on how to use the service, ask away in the comments and I’ll answer them.

2. HSL Journey Planner – Cycling and walking

What: A specific route planner for the Helsinki capital area, mainly from A to B
Where: http://kevytliikenne.ytv.fi/en/ (in Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian)

The commuters tool in the capital area of Finland, the HSL Journey Planner. The service shows you all possible public transportation methods in the area from trains, subway, buses, ferries and they also have an awesome cycling journey planner in there which knows all the nooks, crannies and road pavements and you can even choose your route based on the choice of road surface.

This tool is a clear from A to B route planner, but it does a very good job in that. You can export the routes in GPX/KML and print out the directions if you don’t have a GPS device. It also has added bonuses like showing your calorie burn estimate (demostrated through chocolate pieces) and gives you generic bike routes for sightseeing in the area. If you are planning to bike in or around the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa – this tool is a great help.

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- who has written 201 posts on Coming thru!.

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.

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Coming Thru (or Coming Through - as that URL was taken) is a daily updated bike magazine - a collection of writings and links that relate to biking in its every form. The idea started from when Maarten met Markus decided to finally start collecting the things we like about bikes and talk about our everyday adventures in dodging moving objects at high speeds.The site is run by a collage of cyclists, most notably by Canadian Johanna MacDonald, Belgian Maarten Patteeuw and Finnish Markus Sandelin.

It all started in the spring of 2010, after a record breaking snowy winter when Markus bought a house 25 kilometers from the office and decided to handle the commuting with a bicycle. It turned out the bike wasn’t up to standards for that kind of stress and the first weeks were more tragicomic than glorious. Thus the idea began to brew to actually document this journey.

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