OpenStreetMap now has OSM-powered bike routing for Western Europe

Posted by Richard on 17 July 2014 in English. Last updated on 18 July 2014.

I’ve been working on this for a while and am delighted to be able to unveil it!, my OSM-powered cycling site, now has bike routing for Western Europe: France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the UK and Ireland.

You can try it at

It’s built with (patched) OSRM and a complex custom profile. It takes account of elevation, cycle routes, surface quality and more. All routes are fully draggable; you can export to GPX, TCX, and PDF, and save routes if you create an account. The cartography is specially designed for the site.

Here’s a ride along the Rhine:

Rhine cycleway

Or if you fancy cycling over Mont Ventoux:

Mont Ventoux

Routing details

If it doesn’t follow a route you’d expect it to take, this is usually because surface tags are missing.

For example, here in France, the canalside path is tagged as ‘highway=path’ with no surface tags. guesses that paths in rural areas have poor quality surfaces, so will try not to route along them. Adding a ‘surface=gravel’ tag to this path, which the aerial imagery suggests, will make the router like it. (Access tags are also good.)

Miscellaneous notes

  • The tileserver is a little slow - please be gentle!
  • There are occasional inconsistencies in the tiles - old styles that haven’t refreshed yet.
  • You can’t route between the UK and mainland Europe (there’s a big lake in the way. Only Chris Froome is allowed to cycle through the tunnel and look how far it got him)
  • I’m planning on weekly updates but it’ll be less often at first.
  • Known issue with highway=trunk, bicycle=yes getting undue prominence.
  • Known issue with fahrradstrassen/fietsstraten not being prioritised.
  • You can switch from miles to km if you create an account and set user preferences. It’ll be a bit smarter about defaulting to km for Europe soon, but I need to do a bit of work to enable that. Edit: Now defaults to km for routes in Europe.

Still lots to improve but I hope you like it - and, as ever, thanks to all the mappers who have contributed all the lovely data.

You can post comments/bugs/suggestions here, of course, or on the site forum itself.


Comment from HannesHH on 17 July 2014 at 17:37

Unfiltered first impressions (Opera 12, potentially misconfigured), always sound more grumpy that intended:

I panned to northern Germany. Not sure what the red dots are, probably long bike travel routes. But what are the blue lines then? Must be something very different, motorways? Looked for a legend/key, didn’t find one linked.

Zooming on Hamburg, I recognise the motorways as I suspected. The spacing between the red dots is so big, that I sometimes have trouble seeing their “line”. Eg on

Oh awesome, there is a circular blue dotted route around Hamburg? I want to try that some day. I would love to be able to click on it and see details about it.

I clicked on the map (trying to get details of the blue dots), got a marker instead and I seem unable to remove it again. If I click it, it says “1. footpath”. One of the yellow icons looks like a rubber eraser, nope GPS. Another might be an undo arrow, nope. The icons have no mouseover text hint. Hm… I clicked again, have a start and end point now. I select the end coordinate in the form field and delete it, hit enter and both points disappear from the map. Yay (oops :P ). Remove the coordinate text from the other field as well. Now both fields have ? icons next to them which do nothing.

Zooming/panning some more. Looks like there is a starbucks invasion in the Hafencity: Seems weird that there are almost none of those symbols elsewhere.

Zoomed all the way on the blue dotted line, no name or anything. I really want to know more!

On the red dots for train stations of Bahrenfeld and Reeperbahn are not visible. This is kind of a pet peeve of mine because OsmAnd and Oruxmaps love doing that just when I am looking for public transport. I’d suggest always showing them.

The faint green/blue dotted lines are quite hard to see. I imagine all the transparent colored dotted lines to be really hard for people with red-green problems.

On the main focus for me seems railways and motorways, they are so bold.

Enough cartography!

Made a route in my neighborhood, worked well. Got some yellow 1 though? Found out what that means by playing more. Eww, miles in the sidebar? You filthy imperialist!

Made a route showing some weird routing, clicked on “link to here” and lost it. Not sure where to click to “share” it. You get a screenshot instead:

The label on the right “Ha” is cut off at the tile border and does not continue on the left one from it:

I’ll probably stick with Komoot which I have grown to like (your highlighting of existing routes is a great difference though). :)

Comment from Richard on 17 July 2014 at 19:44

Feedback is always good - thanks! :)

There’s a key at the top right (it says ‘Key’), though I suspect it might not look right in Opera 12. There are definitely tooltip hints on the orange buttons (it’s in the ‘title’ attribute) - maybe an Opera thing again?

The coffee shop thing is because it shows coffee shops in rural areas at low zoom levels, but not in built-up areas… and the built-up area polygon for Hambury doesn’t include the Hafencity. Not sure what to do about that.

Red dots and cut-off labels are Mapnik placement things. The red dots should be there but they’re getting squeezed out by the other labels/symbols. I think you have to have a degree in advanced wizardry to understand Mapnik placement. It’s a bit like the Schleswig-Holstein Question but in XML.

Showing non-cycle features at small scales is one of the challenges of bike maps - like it or not, it’s how a lot of people understand their way around (they’re big landscape features even if you can’t cycle along them).

It generally prefers small roads to major roads but, that said, taking you via Große Reichenstraße is a bit of an extreme diversion. Will investigate. The generalisation is an OSRM thing though there may be ways round it.

Kilometres will be along soon, but until then you can set a per-user preference by creating an account (that’s also how you share and save routes).

Comment from cartinus on 18 July 2014 at 02:52

Looks nice.

I only see tooltips for the login buttons, not for the orange ones. (Firefox 30 on Ubuntu).

Comment from mcld on 18 July 2014 at 23:06


In the search boxes, postcode lookup is easy, but if I search for something simple like “Bolton” to “Manchester” I just get both boxes beachballing. I think you might find some people surprised that they can’t just type in normal placenames like that.

Comment from Richard on 19 July 2014 at 07:47

That’s odd - worksforme. What browser are you using?

Comment from stragu on 19 July 2014 at 08:20

Great work Richard, it looks amazing!

I just can’t get any tooltips to explain to me what the buttons are for (on Firefox 30.0).

Keep up the great work.

Comment from mcld on 19 July 2014 at 09:17

Richard: IGNORE ME. I use Privacy Badger addon and it was inadvertently blocking the nominatim calls. Sorry.

Comment from mcld on 19 July 2014 at 09:27

By the way Richard, just this morning TFL recommended me a comically wrong cycle route in East London. So I went to and got the right route :)

Comment from Ocivelo on 12 September 2014 at 06:55

hello Richard, good job ! i ve tested it locally in Saint-Etienne and it works. I just suggest you to add an option to calculate a route that don’t take difficult climbings;

i’ve worked on a router based on routino that calculate the shortest route (like you) and the quickest route (asuming that the more difficult is the climbing, less speedy is the travel) the source is here : for example, I took the travel from 5.4141,4.3955 to 45.4287,4.4005 to avoid “rue de la vivaraize” which is a difficult way for an everyday bike travel

unfortunately, I haven’t got a site on the web with thos routing available,

Comment from Richard on 12 September 2014 at 07:05

Hi Ocivelo - does already take elevation into account, but I’ll take a look at that example and see if the hill penalty could be revised!

Comment from dekarl on 3 December 2014 at 22:44

Very nice. I started adding pictures around here to cyclestreets. They have a nice API for geocoded cycle related pictures, maybe you can cooperate.

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