Cycling apps to help you navigate your city

Do you keep city maps and atlases in your car, just in case? I do, but I love print maps! When I ride my bike, I take the Region of Waterloo bike map if travelling along unfamiliar routes. There’s a PDF version available for download on the Region’s website, and I georeferenced it for my own personal use in the Avenza Maps app. But many times I need help with navigating the often unconnected cycling routes.

Google Maps

Google Maps shows the cycling network, but it often redirects me along unsafe roads. For example, Courtland Avenue in Kitchener is part of the Trans-Canada Trail, but I do not want to bike along it. I’ve had transport trucks following much too close and had to ride on the sidewalk (slowly) for my own physical safety.

Bike Ottawa

If you live or have visited Ottawa, perhaps you’ve used their cycling apps and maps. They have maps for level of traffic stress, bike amenities, route planners, winter-maintained routes, and more.

Cycling Guide App

In Waterloo Region, Zeitspace is developing a cycling app that will help people find and safety get to the protected trails and paths around the region. 

They are building the app on top of OpenStreetMaps data and basing it on Bike Ottawa’s work. Zeitspace and local volunteers want this to be a hyperlocal map, meant for people who are uncomfortable cycling on roads. And a major feature of the app is to collect and respond to user feedback – on routing, points of interest, hazards, etc.

The code will be open source so that other communities can add their own hyperlocal routes.

You can still sign up to access the Beta Program to help improve the app. 

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