As an experienced cyclist who has spent countless hours on trails, roads, and everything in between, I’m here to share my know-how on planning the perfect cycling route. Whether you’re a newbie to the biking world or a seasoned rider looking for new insights, read on.

Together, we’ll dive into the world of cycling route planning – a skill that can turn an average ride into an extraordinary adventure.

Deciding on Your Route

The first step is choosing your path. The right route can turn your ride into an unforgettable experience, while the wrong one can spell disaster.

To find the best route, aim for quiet, scenic roads that offer enjoyment and safety. Busy, heavily-trafficked roads not only dampen the joy of riding but also pose significant safety risks. But how do you find these quiet routes?

The answer lies in your smartphone – Google Maps. Simply input your starting and ending locations, and the app will display the current traffic conditions. Blue means clear roads, yellow indicates mild traffic, and red signifies heavy traffic.

Understanding the Terrain

When planning your cycling route, being aware of the terrain is a crucial factor. An unexpected uphill climb or rocky trail can make your ride considerably more difficult.

Local knowledge is your best ally here. Reach out to local bike shops, cycling clubs, or even online communities such as Facebook groups, Reddit, or Quora. Cyclists who frequent your chosen route can give you the low-down on what to expect.

Weather Forecasting

The weather is a key determinant of how enjoyable – or miserable – your ride will be. Extreme conditions not only make cycling more challenging but can also be harmful to your health.

Again, the internet is a handy tool. Check out weather forecasting websites for a detailed forecast of your route. If rain or snow is predicted, it might be wise to opt for a different route or delay your ride.

Dodging Rush Hour

If your route includes areas near schools or offices, make an effort to avoid rush hours. Traffic congestion during these periods can lead to wasted time and increased risk. In general, try to avoid cycling between 6-10 AM and 3-7 PM.

These steps can make manual route planning a breeze. However, technology has provided an even simpler way – mobile applications.

Making the Most of Cycling Route Planning Apps

The convenience and accuracy of mobile apps have made them a favorite tool among modern cyclists. Here’s how you can use them to plan your cycling routes:

  1. Download a reputable cycling app.
  2. Enter your starting and ending points.
  3. Let the app do the work! It will automatically plan the most optimal route.

Two of the best apps for this purpose are Google Maps and Komoot:

Google Maps

It not only offers traffic and route planning but also includes a “street view” feature. You can scout your route in advance, ensuring you choose the most scenic and hassle-free path.


It is a comprehensive, free route-planning app. It provides information about road surface, ride elevation, and estimated arrival time. The “route planner” feature lets you customize according to your riding style, and the app will adjust your route accordingly.

You can even add multiple waypoints and discover “Highlights” – interesting spots marked by previous Komoot users. 

Remember, your cycling experience doesn’t just depend on planning the perfect route. Always wear appropriate protective gear and ensure your bicycle is in good condition before setting off. Happy cycling!