Getting started with CycleStreets is a web application providing cycle journey planning together with photos of the routes to give you an idea of what they’re like. There are options for finding the fastest, quietest, or a balanced route.

This page provides a quick introduction to CycleStreets (with links for further information) and a summary guide to contributing cycle route data.

Where CycleStreets sits within the OSM community


OpenStreetMap is like a Wikipedia version of GoogleMaps. It’s a fully open source and crowd-sourced project. The geodata in the OSM system is gathered and entered by volunteers and is freely available for anyone to use. Furthermore, if you find an inaccuracy in a map you can actually go in and fix it.


OpenCycleMap is an OSM rendering layer aimed at showing information useful to cyclists. The maps are used in a number of websites and applications. The layer can also be seen on the main OSM page by selecting the "cycle map" layer.


A project originating from Cambridge Cycle Campaign. Provides cycle journey planning together with photos of the routes to give you an idea of what they’re like. There are options for finding the fastest, quietest, or a balanced route. The website's help page makes it easy to get started.

Maps are provided by OpenCycleMap.

The CycleStreets routing engine is exposed via a programming interface for other applications to use.

Bike Hub iPhone app

'Cycle satnav' app. Finds quickest or quietest cycle routes and locates nearest bike shops. Features turn-by-turn navigation, with voice instructions and vibrating alerts.

Now also available on Android.

Uses the CycleStreets routing engine. Funded by Bike Hub, the UK cycle industry's levy scheme.

Contributing to OpenCycleMap / CycleStreets


The tags used by the CycleStreets router are documented here.

If more than one tag value seems to apply to a particular key (e.g. cycleway=lane; cycleway=segregated), choose the one that seems most important.

The following subset is sufficient to get started:

Tags applying to ways
highway=trunkA roads with green signs.
highway=primaryA roads with black and white signs.
highway=secondaryB roads. These generally link smaller towns and villages.
highway=tertiaryNon-minor roads wider than 4 metres (13') that are not A or B roads. They tend to have dashed lines down the middle, whereas unclassified roads do not.
highway=residentialRoads accessing or around residential areas but which are not a classified or unclassified highway.
highway=unclassifiedNo administrative classification. Unclassified roads typically form the lowest form of the interconnecting grid network.
highway=trackRoads for agricultural use, gravel roads in the forest etc.; usually unpaved/unsealed.
highway=pathA non-specific or shared-use path.
highway=cyclewayDesignated cycleway, i.e. mainly/exclusively for bicycles (hence, seldom applicable in the UK).
There are several other values for highway that may be applicable for cycle routes, (e.g. bridleway, ferry) – see the link above for details. Some require bicycle=yes to override their contrary default (e.g. footway, pedestrian).
cycleway=trackCycle track separated from cars.
cycleway=laneCycle lane on the highway.
cycleway=sharedShared with other users.
cycleway=segregatedPedestrians and cyclists are separated.
name=<name>e.g. The Big Track
  (or ncn=yes|proposed)
National cycle network
  (or rcn=yes|proposed)
Regional cycle network
  (or lcn=yes|proposed)
Local cycle network
Tags applying to nodes
crossing=toucanCrossing where bicycles may be ridden across.
Tags applying to relations
These two tags are generally used together to define a cycle route as a collection of ways.

For tags beyond those specifically useful to cyclists, see the OSM tag reference.

Using GPS traces

A GPS device is helpful for mapping new cycle paths. Load GPA traces via the main OSM site then click on My Tracks while in the Potlatch editor to select a particular trace.

Adding photos

You have to register with CycleStreets to add route photos. The Photomap help page on their website explains all.

Map legend

CycleStreets uses OpenCycleMap maps. The official OpenCycleMap legend is a little out of date. Here's an attempt to plug the gap:

Zoomed outZoomed in
National cycle network
Regional cycle network
Local cycle network
Cycle lane
Cycleway (or footway where cycling is permitted)
Cycle parking
Bicycle shop

OpenCycleMap represents many other amenities of interest to cyclists – such as cafes and pubs – with intuitive, easily recognised symbols.

Feedback. Until I get the spam infested comment system back online, please send any feedback on this page to: easleydp at gmail dot com
19 Mar 2011, easleyonline