Route Mapping and Logging for Bicycle Commuters

A great way to visualize a new or different bicycling route is to pull out a map and try to find the best way from point “A” to point “B”. With the release of Google Map’s underlying source code, however, this process has become even easier! In this article I will present four route-mapping websites that allow a user to create, save and share favorite bicycle routes all with a few clicks of the mouse. All four use the Google Map source code, so from a functional perspective, they all work very similar to each other. Finally, I will show you a great place to log your miles and favorite routes on an easy-to-use Web interface.

Gmaps Pedometer
(no registration required) screenshot
This is one of the first of the public sites to use the Google Map source code “hack”, and is the one I use most frequently for planning rides and sharing routes with fellow commuters. The interface is easy to use, but not terribly glamorous. Since the underlying code is the ever-familiar Google Map, the routes can be viewed in four different ways: map, satellite, hybrid and topographical. Once a route is created, it can be saved and shared (a URL is generated “on the fly” by the Gmap interface). In addition, a user can turn on a “calorie counter” to determine just how much fat is being burned out there on the ride. All the while, a mileage counter keeps track of individual leg and total distance, and milemarkers are created on the route.

(no registration required) screenshot
Mapmyride uses the same Google Map “hack”, but adds a couple features to the route-generating toolbox. A user can add aid stations, water sources, parking spots and a bunch of other “markers” to the route. Also, route maps can be exported to GPS devices…a great feature!

(free registration is required to use) screenshot
While I have never used this route-mapper, I know that Bikely’s interface is very popular and is often the first one of these tools to be recommended by bicyclists. One of the things I like best about Bikely is that it knows your starting area without you telling it…kinda creepy but cool. The moment you log in, even though registration doesn’t require inputting a city, Bikely will take you directly to a map of where you live! This trick eliminates a few clicks to get started — you can start mapping instantly upon login. One of the other prominent features is a method to add descriptive tags to the routes created, which facilitates sharing (mmm…metadata…it must be the librarian in me!).

(free registration is required to use) screenshot
Routeslip is perhaps the sexiest of these route-mapping sites — the interface is cool and the site’s design is sleek and stylish. Despite the design, getting started on Routeslip can be kind of clunky, especially if you are used to one of the other sites mentioned. Some of the tools are hidden behind drop-down panels, and it requires some extra clicks to open and close these panels. However, once you locate and master the available tools, you will churn out well-labeled, shareable routes that are also downloadable to GPS units.

(free registration required to use, paid subscription required for advanced features) screenshot
While this site doesn’t let you create visual, shareable maps, it DOES allow descriptive routes to be created and shared. This site is really geared for something else altogether, though: logging bicycling data. With a free registration, a user can create a spreadsheet-style ride log that can contain up to 28 different data points to track (mileage, weather conditions, heart rate, watts, etc.). In addition, a user can create a detailed profile showing goals for the year, the bikes in a rider’s “quiver” and a lot of other fun tools. also offers a free user forum and collects and shares members’ stats for viewing. I am a dedicated user of this site…once I set a yearly mileage goal, I find that I am riding further and more often than I might if I didn’t have some way of tracking my progress. My favorite feature is the ranking — whenever you add a ride, your ranking among users updates in real time (as of this writing I am ranked 2783 out of 22,377 total members….whoo hoo!).

These are all great tools — you should try them! One of the things I like best about any of these tools is that it allows someone to create a safe, calm route for someone who is new to bicycle commuting…what better way to turn someone on to the joys of bike commuting than presenting them with a customized, full-color map that shows the best route for their needs?

Alright, then…get out there and RIDE! If anyone has another favorite route-mapping site, please let us know about them.


  1. Eric

    Wow. This is an excellent article! I’ve been keeping a riding log for this year – and it’s a bit of a pain since I keep it on a spreadsheet on a USB key and carry it between work and home, and sometimes forget where I left it, etc… This will be great to be able to log my riding online. Thanks for posting this…!

  2. Ghost Rider

    Bikejournal is AWESOME — and so much is available for free! Glad you like the article, and thanks for reading!

    Seriously, when a rider starts logging miles and other metrics, it is a great incentive to do more and go farther…at least, that’s been MY experience. Why, I’m already 3/4 of the way to my yearly mileage goal and it is only July!

  3. Noah

    I love Veloroutes. It’s kind of a back-to-basics effort that’s maintained by one single developer. He’s adding features to it constantly, and I get to beta-test some of his new features, or sometimes I just stumble across them. No registration is currently required, and there are quite a few features that the others offer which he’s got in the works. I actually prefer the VR interface for locating nearby routes over Routeslip’s.

    A friend of mine uses Motionbased as well. I think it’s more for people who have GPS-equipped bikes, though.

  4. Ghost Rider

    Mmmm…Veloroutes. That IS a nice one — same familiar Google Maps underpinnings, nice additional features. Thanks for the heads-up on that one!

    Say, Noah, do you have a link for the other one you mentioned? Motionbased?

  5. Moe

    Hey Ghost, Motionbased ( is pretty cool if you have a GPS that supports GPX files. I’ve downloaded the Fruita Trails to my GPS so I’m ready to go!

  6. Noah


    Here’s an example. This is my friend Chris’s commute, of which the last 13 miles were with myself and one other commuter. You can see my Blog post about the three-person convoy that day.

  7. Ghost Rider

    Pretty cool…maybe I need to get me one o’ them fancy GPS units!

    Olathe and KC, eh? I spent a few years in Leavenworth as a younger man — wide open spaces and nary a tree in sight!

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  9. El Presidente

    Hey Ghost Rider, just ran into this post through Google. To log your ride, check out Doesn’t have a map routing feature (yet), but keeps track of your rides/bikes/routes very nicely.

  10. Ghost Rider

    Thanks, but I’m cheap, and Bikejournal is free — as opposed to Ride Analyzer, which is only free for the first 30 days.

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