Donate using PayPal

CycleStreets blog

News from CycleStreets

Archive for December, 2010

January Net2Camb Meetup: Building CycleStreets

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

We're speaking at the Net2Camb meetup event, on the subject of 'Building CycleStreets'. It should be a really enjoyable and social evening; do come along!

The talk will be suitable for both non-technical and technically-minded people alike.

For more details, and to sign up, go to: (it's free!)

About the event:

CycleStreets is the UK-wide cycle journey planner, whose website has just seen its third-of-a-millionth route planned. Enabling people to plan cycle journeys from A-B anywhere in the UK, it has been created by two Cambridge-based people (plus help from others, not least OpenStreetMap mappers!) who have combined their interests in cycling and computing. It uses information from OpenStreetMap, the map equivalent of wikipedia.

Martin Lucas-Smith will explain the history of the site, what it can do, and the challenges that CycleStreets faces as a social enterprise with virtually no funding but masses of ideas and enthusiasm.

About the venue: 

This event is at a new venue, a pub called The Emperor on Hills Road, convenient to the city centre and train station. The pub just opened, and the landlord is the same as the Empress, which won pub of the year 2010. The Emperor is located where The Globe used to be.

Map to the venue – plan a route there!

Spread the word!

This is a free event. Please help us spread the word to your friends and colleagues!

Guest post: Satnavving through the snow

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

This is a guest post from Carlton Reid, executive editor of and the editor of, who commissioned and helped designed the great new Bike Hub app which uses our routing! Following on from his first guest post, he writes about version 2.0 of the BikeHub satnav & bikeshop-finder iPhone app.

I'm a Mac addict so am conflicted when I here use a phrase popularised by Microsoft but it's true, I do eat my own dogfood.

I use the product I made. Or, more accurately, the product I commissioned. The Bike Hub app was coded by Tinderhouse of Kent and is given away free on iTunes thanks to the UK bicycle industry's levy, Bike Hub.

The app started life as a journey planner (and bike shop finder) but Version 2.0 turned it into a turn-by-turn satnav, with voice directions and vibration alerts.

It's all well and good me using the app in my home town of Newcastle but that's no real test, that's merely fun. The real test was to use it in a place I'm unfamiliar with. Earlier this week I was in Coventry with my folding bike, researching the hidden history of late 19th Century cyclists and their role in creating better roads.

I had to get from out in the sticks through to the University of Warwick and then from there to a car showroom in Coventry before finally reaching the train station.

There's no handlebar holder for the iPhone 4 (yet, there's one due from Dahon any day now) so I was going to have to rely on the voice and vibrate alerts. With an earbud in one ear I could listen to the synthetic voice, and still be aware of noises around me.

On roads, this worked fine. The satnav voice directed me to take lots of turns so I could stay away from Coventry's murderous dual carriageways. But when it came to being directed on bike paths, I had to stop and use visual guidance from the 3D map. When the app told me to go 'straight on' in my ear, I could see from the map that what it meant was divert to the cycle path. When cycle paths are well marked this system worked well but in Coventry town centre there are quite a few cycle underpasses to navigate and without looking at the 3D map I would have been flummoxed by using voice alone: there were too many un-named cut-throughs to navigate. Roads all have names; Sustrans' National Cycle Routes are listed by NCN#; but short cuts are denoted merely by 'link to'. Without a map to look at (and even with a map to look at) finding your way from a road via the app's 'link to' message can be confusing.

But when it works well, the satnav functionality works brilliantly. I was guided through short-cuts on the car-strangled campus of the University of Warwick and, once into Coventry, guided on Sustrans NCN routes, including bike bridges over nasty looking dual carriageways. Appropriately, I was guided past the statue of James Starley, one of the founding fathers of the UK bicycle industry, uncle of JK Starley, the designer of the Rover Safety bicycle, direct forerunner to the modern bicycle.

This status isn't listed on OpenStreetMap. I shall add it.

We welcome your feedback, especially to report bugs or give us route feedback.

My comments relate to: *

Your comments: *
URL of page: *
How did you find out about CycleStreets?:
Your name:
Our ref: Please leave blank - anti-spam measure

* Items marked with an asterisk [*] are required fields and must be fully completed.