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CycleStreets blog

News from CycleStreets

Archive for June, 2011

Calories burned and CO2 saved

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The main reason I got into cycling was that it was simply the best way for me to get to school. As I grew up I discovered that it was also the best way of getting around Hinckley, Central London, the villages of southern Cheshire, Milton Keynes, Georgetown (Guyana), and of course, Cambridge (England). I was never bothered about how much fat I burned, or even that I was saving the planet along the way (apparently). For me it has always been the 'obvious' way to get around the place I live.

But other people are interested in these things, and now that I've added them to the journey planner calculations, I'm getting more interested in them too.

Calories and CO2 in route listings

The 'calories burned by cycling' calculation was added to a customised cycle journey planner for West Sussex County Council a few months ago. They have enjoyed a period of exclusivity with that, but we are now making that calculation available to all. The calculation takes into account the speed of cycling and any hills going up or down, but ignores any head or tail winds. It assumes a rather typical roadster bike aerodynamic, and a combined rider and bike weight of 90kg. The full calculation is explained on the help pages.

The Carbon Dioxide (CO2) saved figure has been included in our route listings for over a year now. It was part of a series of improvements to our site covered by a Sustainable City grant from Cambridge City Council in 2010. The calculation is explained on the help pages.

The amount of energy used in riding the route, and the amount of CO2 saved compared to an equivalent car journey are now also included in our API so that future versions of our mobile applications can use them too.

We hope this extra information adds to your enjoyment of the site and perhaps helps you more appreciate some of the physics of cycling.

Back in June 2006 …

Monday, June 27th, 2011


CycleStreets, you may not be aware, was based on a Cambridge-only cycle journey planner that we created as members of Cambridge Cycling Campaign.

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign journey planner went live in the early hours of 27 June 2006, some five years ago today. Back then it based its routes on a network which was traced over satellite photos of the streets of Cambridge. That network started off with only around 2,000 streets, and that provided a way for users to join the project and add their own traces to the map network.

Tracing Routes over Satellite Images

By the time we switched to OpenStreetMap data, these hand-traced maps covered some 5,000 streets and it was no longer practical to support that behaviour and it gave rise to a range of issues. Now the CycleStreets system uses a map of millions of streets!

Auto-generated route signs from the Centre of Cambirdge

The journey planner evolved from a program that was written to work out where to place helpful signs on cycle routes, and which also worked out what text should appear on them.

CycleStreets continues to develop daily, and more and more new ideas are coming forward that we want to include.

CycleStreets for Android now available

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

CycleStreets, providing cycle routing for the UK, is now available on Android – thanks to our new app. Download it from the Android Market now – for free!


Our OpenStreetMap-based routing, for cyclists by cyclists, is now available on the move, complete with full placefinder, tap-to-set and with turn-by-turn directions.

Brought to you by CycleStreets, the UK-based cycle routing people, run on a not-for-profit basis.

Search for CycleStreets in the Android Market, use this link or use this QR code to download it directly:

Plan cycle-friendly routes from A to B anywhere in the UK!

  • Plans routes through the full street and path network, including Sustrans routes and other networks
  • Innovative & quick "three taps" system: Set current location, tap the map to set destination, and plan!
  • Or search for any location in the UK, including full postcode support and local/national placefinder
  • Choice of map styles (including OpenCycleMap showing contours, and Ordnance Survey Street View)
  • Turn-by-turn itinerary view
  • Choose from different types of routing – fastest/quietest/balanced/shortest
  • Easily switch between route types (e.g. quietest to fastest) having planned a route
  • Takes account of hills automatically
  • Plan journeys up to 200 miles (320km) long
  • Routes automatically saved for later viewing
  • UK-wide (NB some areas of OpenStreetMap are better than others)
  • Share your route to Twitter/Facebook easily
  • Routing for cyclists, by cyclists: your input to OpenStreetMap very welcome


Cycle campaigners will love it too: Photomap photo facility

  • Need some cycle parking in your area? Take a picture and add it to our Photomap
  • Obstruction in the way? Report it! Or found an example of great infrastructure? Add it!
  • Share your photo on Twitter/Facebook easily
  • Browse the existing library of around 30,000 photos
  • Full category and caption support
  • Fully-integrated upload with automatic geolocation
  • Locations used by campaigners around the UK
  • Integrated signin facility


Part of the development of this App has been funded by Cycling Scotland.

We’d particularly like to thank our great volunteers who have put in an enormous amount of effort: Jez Higgins (our lead developer), Theodore Hong, Christopher Fraser, Jonathan Gray.

CycleStreets for Android is an open source project, and the code is available on GitHub. If you’d like to get involved with the coding to add new features, do get in touch.

London Transport Museum to highlight Bike Hub app

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

The Bike Hub levy -funded smartphone app, which uses CycleStreets routing, will be highlighted in Sense and the City, an exhibition about being "connected & on the move".

A new exhibition at London Transport Museum will explore how people in the past imagined the London of the future and how new technology will influence city living over the next ten years.

"While the urban landscape will look much the same in 2021 as it does today in terms of buildings, transport infrastructure and even vehicles, our ability to sense and connect to all that the city has to offer is about to be transformed by the convergence of data and communication technologies," said a statement from London Transport Museum.

The Sense and the City exhibition will explore the differences this revolution of connectivity, networking, architecture, town planning and energy will make to our lives over the next ten years. The exhibition has been developed in partnership with the Royal College of Arts.

Alongside high-tech vehicles, the exhibition will feature smartphone navigation, including the Bike Hub cycling-specific satnav.

This app allows cyclists to plan cycle journeys and find bike shops while out and about. Bike Hub app is available for iPhone and Android and is free thanks to the Bike Hub levy.

The app, created to steer cyclists away from busy roads, has a full-on 3D map mode and all of the usual satnav info that drivers are used to, but can route on bike paths, bridleways and the Sustrans National Cycle Network. 

Sense and the City will be staged in the CBS Outdoor Gallery at London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, London and will open in July and run until March 2012.

Written by Carlton Reid and reproduced with permission.

Journey planner for London Cycling Campaign’s new website

Friday, June 10th, 2011

We've created a new customised journey planner for London Cycling Campaign.

LCC are the leading cycling advocacy group in London. Their work over many years has really helped keep up the pressure to improve cycling conditions in London – so you should certainly join LCC! (LCC is in fact the first NGO that Martin joined.) Most recently, LCC has led the charge over the Blackfriar's Bridge debacle.

They've just launched a great new website. And it features an embedded journey planner, by us, at

Part of this project involved the creation of a new embeddable box 'widget' on the front page of the LCC website – a feature which we hope to make more widely available soon:

London is the most challenging area for us to provide routing for – the complexity of the network sometimes results in rather wiggly routes, which is something we are still working to address.

Congratulations to LCC on the launch of the new site and the clever new logo!

We hope to work again with LCC and many other cycling campaign groups around the UK as our campaigner toolkit (GeoVation) project is implemented in the coming 5 months.

London Cycle Hire website updated

Monday, June 6th, 2011

We've added a few new features to our website, a version of the journey planner that includes the Barclays Cycle Hire ('Boris-bike') points.

We've added live availability data, thanks to TfL's new data feed – thanks TfL for making this data open! (Disclaimer: as a third-party site, it is not endorsed by TfL).

We've also added Street View images from Google so you can familiarise yourself with the area before making a trip.

The popup links for each location enable you to 'Choose this point' as a start or finish location.

And as with our main website, you get a choice of directions and photos-en-route, brilliantly detailed data from OpenStreetMap, plus other features.

Check out for your next borisbike journey!

London Cycle Hire website

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