Geographer and cyclists, we started to travel by bike in 2007, progressively starting with two weeks holiday trips (Algarve, Tuscany, Britain, Andalusia and Extremadura) to finally live outdoors and cycle around Europe during several months (2 months in Germany in 2014, more than 10.000 km in France between 2015 and 2016). For ethical as well as practical reasons, we have decided not to use a GPS, but printed maps. In 10 years of travels, we've had the opportunity to test many different types of maps : car-oriented road books, local maps, guides for common cycling routes… We even cycled through Tuscany with a map from the '60s ! Each type of maps had advantages, but also obvious limitations. Road books for cars are made from a grand scale not adapted to cyclists willing to use small country roads, and often lack of contour lines. Local maps have the adequate scale and give the cyclists interesting information but you have to buy many of them and carry them for a longer trip. Cycling guides are too specific and don't let you complete freedom to get away from the route.
During a cycling trip, it came to our minds that we could make our own Atlas for cycling trips, based on the advantages of the usual road books but with specific adaptation for bikes (1:150.000 scale) and useful cycling information (cycle routes like Eurovelo or regional routes, rest areas, camping sites, contour lines and topography, bike shops, water points, bathing sites, tourist points of interest...)
Moving in the open source philosophy for many years, we have decided to use only open source data. Most data come from OpenStreetMap, the others are more specific to cyclists. Have a look at the key and the samples of the Atlas to check the data displayed on our maps.
Our Atlas for cycling tours is not published in printed version. It only exists in PDF format, which has actually more advantages that disadvantages. No need to carry with you a full road book with hundreds of pages you won't need. If you're having a short trip, you can print the pages before you start (and even use the back as a notebook). For a longer trip, which route may vary in time, you can print the pages you need as you go along, from the files stored on your usb key or the cloud. PDF files can also be read on electronic devices that cyclists may want to take during their trip : tablet, smartphone, ebook... We chose a standard A4 format (easy to print anywhere and adapted to most map cases) and a colour version optimized for black and white reading and printing (reducing the printing costs and allowing the reading on an ebook).
Having the Atlas as a PDF file also allows us to offer it at an affordable price. The road books will be updated each year, and the new updated version will be available for free for the cyclists who bought a previous version.
Making an Atlas for cycling tours is an ongoing project, evolving trip after trip… Here are already some of our ideas to be implemented in the future :
* As we spend several months on the roads to test our Atlas on the field, we might not be able answer your email right away. But be patient… we always answer and try to do it quickly.