As we are all made aware of the need to be more sustainable in our transport needs, there has been a tangible increase in the use of cycles for commuting as an alternative to cars. As well as the obvious advantages to the environment, cycling also has health benefits in these times of increased obesity and diabetes. Various organisations, such as British Cycling and Sustrans dedicate themselves to encouraging cycling as a form of transport but increasingly, other agencies are making use of cycling maps.
Many local authorities have become aware of this increase in cycling and are encouraging sustainable transport, particularly within congested town centre areas. The easiest way to promote suitable and recommended routes for cycling is through the use of a cycle maps. A cycle map promotes the use of quiet roads and specific cycle paths to make the journey as safe as possible and therefore encourage people to make use of this method of transport. Mapping is also designed to attract visitors to an area to travel by bike, so local attractions may be highlighted, as well as routes to avoid hazards on unfamiliar roads. Many tourist sites even offer discounts to visitors arriving by bike, so a local cycle map can be a great money saver!
Within the leisure market, every bookshop is full of guide books containing cycle maps. These may cover circular trails to take in local sites, or linear routes from point to point. The cycle mapping will include landmarks and possibly an elevation profile to help with planning. These cycle maps can then be used to plot a day out on a bike.
The main feature of a good cycle map must be to clearly display the recommended routes for cycling, whether this be dedicated traffic free paths, suitable quiet back streets or cycle lanes around obstacles such as roundabouts. It is important that other relevant details are also highlighted, such as important landmarks to aid orientation and hazards such as points to cross major roads. Features such as cycle parking areas, bike shops and cafes are also often added to cycle maps to ensure the maximum use. The cycle map must be of use to both local users, who may know the roads well, and visitors for whom the road layout is unknown.
Cycle maps are often printed on water resistant paper so they can be used in all weathers. So, there is no excuse for not saddling up and trying out a new route to work, or exploring the local area around home. A cycle map can be a very useful addition to anyone’s transport portfolio.