How To Plan A Cycling Route? [4 Simple Steps]

How To Plan A Cycling Route

Wondering how to plan a cycling route? Don’t worry, this article has got you covered. A properly planned route can help you to get the most out of the ride. It will save you from any unforeseen incidents and make your ride more enjoyable.

Luckily, a cycling route can be planned very easily. You can either use a smartphone app to do the planning job for you or, try to plan a route manually all by yourself. As a regular cyclist with many years of experience, I can definitely show you how to do it.

In this article, I will talk about how exactly do you plan a cycling route. So, I request you to read this article to the end if you wish to know more about this topic.

4 Steps To Follow For Planning A Cycling Route

As said before, you can plan your cycling route manually or via mobile apps. But for starters, let us talk about how you plan a cycling route manually. Please follow the steps below:

Step 1: Choose The Route:

Choosing the correct route can really make a huge difference in your riding adventure. A bad route can easily ruin your experience and vice versa.

So, how do you choose the correct route? Well, the task of choosing a perfect route is fairly simple. You should always choose a quiet scenic road if you wish to enjoy the ride. A quiet road will keep you away from heavy traffic. It will also be safe as there won’t be many vehicles on the road.

Now you may ask yourself, “How do I know whether the road I chose has heavy traffic or not?”. Well, in order to know that, you have to seek the help of Google maps.

Almost all modern phones come with Google maps pre-installed. You may have to download it manually if your device doesn’t come with it.

Now, head on to Google maps. There, input your starting point and your destination point. Google Maps will automatically show you the current traffic conditions of the road.

Remember, blue on the waypoint means there is no traffic, yellow means there is slight congestion, and red means there is heavy traffic.

Step 2: Beware Of The Terrain:

Terrain knowledge can definitely help you to plan a better cycling route. Before you start planning a route, you must know what kind of terrain you may run into. Speaking from experience, an unexpected terrain encounter can prove to be very troublesome.

The best way of avoiding such encounters is by gaining local knowledge. Head on to your local bike shop or ask a local cyclist about the terrain of the route. They will be more than happy to help you.

If you don’t want to ask someone directly, don’t worry there are other ways of gaining local knowledge as well. Yes, I am talking about social media. Head on to your local cycling Facebook group and ask fellow cyclists about the terrain. You can also make a post on Reddit or quora regarding this topic.

Step 3: Get An Idea About The Weather:

Weather can play a huge role in making your ride enjoyable or miserable. You must have proper knowledge about the weather before you plan a cycling route. Cycling in extreme weather can be really tough. Moreover, it can also do more harm to your body than good. Try to select a route that has good weather conditions.

Again, you can ask the locals for more information about the weather of the route. Or go online and find out about it yourself.

Go to google and lookout for a good weather website. There, keep an eye out for the predicted weather of your route. If you see a forecast for rain or snow, it would be best to avoid that route.

Step 4: Avoid Rush Hours:

If your route connects to offices and schools, then you should definitely avoid riding during the rush hours. Generally, rush hours take place between 6-10 AM and 3-7 PM.

Rush hours often tend to cause traffic congestions. It can cause a huge traffic pileup and consequently waste valuable time. If possible, try to avoid using a route that connects to offices and schools altogether.

These are some steps by following which you can perfectly plan your cycling route. But, route planning can be done even more easily. Many apps will use their algorithm to plan a suitable route for you. 

How To Plan A Cycling Route Using Apps?

Most modern cyclists use modern technology to plan out their cycling routes. Why wouldn’t they? It’s more easy, simple, and can be done with the touch of a screen!

Most importantly, they have the ability to display precise and accurate data.

So, how do you plan a cycling route on apps? It’s dead simple. At first, you need to download an app that you like the most. I will suggest some great apps later in this article.

After downloading the app, you just have to put the starting location and ending location of the ride into the app. Voila! The route planning is done! The app will automatically plan the best route for you.

What Are The Best Apps For Route Planning And How Do You Use Them? 

There are actually plenty of good apps for planning a cycle route. They are easy to use and accurate as well. Some great apps for route planning and directions on how to use them are given below:

Google Maps:

This is probably the most used go-to app for planning a cycle route. To start planning the route, open the Google Maps app.

  • In the app, you will see a “search here” option on top of the interface. Tap on it. Then, input your destination location and wait for the app to load. After a few seconds, you will see an option to show “directions”, tap on it.
  • After pressing on directions, look out for a cycle icon within the app. Pressing the cycle icon will enable the cycle mode.
  • Now, it is time to put in the starting point. At the very top, you will find a “choose starting point” option, select it. If you have the GPS service turned on, select “your location”. But if you don’t have GPS on, you have to put the starting location yourself.

After successfully plotting the starting location, wait for a few seconds. That’s it, Google Maps will now find the best route for you.

Moreover, Google Maps also provides a great feature called “street view”. Using this feature, you can literally see and scout the road in advance. It can help you to choose a more scenic, smooth, and hassle-free route.


Komoot is undoubtedly the best free route planner app in the market. No other app can display the level of information that Komoot can. It can show you the road surface, the elevation you need to ride, the estimated time of arrival, etc.

  • So first of all, you need to download the Komoot app. It is available in both android and ios app stores. In the app, locate an option called “route planner” and select it.
  • You can actually select the type of cycling that you plan to do in the sport section of the app. Depending on your region, you can choose anything between road cycling, bike touring, mountain biking, gravel riding, etc.

    Select the one that suits your style and put your starting location in the “Enter Starting Point” box.
  • Then, enter your destination location in the “Enter Destination” box. Komoot will automatically show you the best route according to your riding style. It will also display the type of road you may encounter during the ride.

You can also add multiple waypoints in the route planner. If your region supports it, you may also get access to a unique Komoot feature called “Highlights”. “Highlights” are the spots that previous Komoot users found interesting.

Many other route planner apps are available in both android and ios app stores. Almost all of them work pretty well but the two apps mentioned above are most well known and work the best. So my recommendation would be to use any of the above apps for route planning.


Always wear appropriate protective gear while cycling. Do not forget to complete a pre-ride safety inspection of your bicycle before you head out for a ride.

You may also want to read:
How To Do Cycling To Increase Height?
How To Use Strava App For Cycling [The Ultimate Guide]

Shamim Ahmed

My journey with cycling started in 2011 and I have been cycling since then. I am a self-taught bicycle enthusiast who has collected a lot of knowledge about it through the years. On this blog, I share my passion and experiences with cycling, as well as insights and recommendations. This blog is also useful for any riders out there who want to improve their cycling skills and techniques.

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