General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Postby mercalia » 7 Oct 2018, 9:21pm

is cyclestreets any good?

I just got a cheap 2nd hand Windows 8.1 mobile ( £15 ) and looking thru the store saw cyclestreets as an app.


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Joined: 5 Nov 2010, 1:58pm

Re: cyclestreets

Postby boris » 9 Oct 2018, 6:07pm

when I have tried to use it I have found it suggests some good routes , and the mapping is very clear. Openstreetmaps colours are far clearer than googlemaps ( whose idea was it at google to draw pale grey roads on slightly less pale grey background? Shoot them) .
Printed out or viewed on a tablet the cyclestreets maps and turn-by-turn sections are great.

My reasons for preferring Osmand are ( and I hope someone will tell me that cyclestreets actually does these things) :
1 osmand stores maps of the whole country in your phone , so no phone or data signal is needed , so cheap and no signal strength probs.
2 you cannot drag to change the route as you can with google maps , nor add intermediate way-points to get the route off sections you don't like as osmand does. So you seem to be stuck with whatever route cyclestreets tells you.
3 once you have set up a route you like can you use cyclestreets as a sat-nav? will it tell you directions by voice commands? Trying to see a map on a mobile in daylight is a bit hopeless and you run out of battery quickly. My ear piece gives me directions all day on osmand , with the screen off .
4 I supppose you could download the gpx data and put that into osmand or some other sat-nav , but you can do that with google maps via

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Re: cyclestreets

Postby DevonDamo » 11 Oct 2018, 10:47pm

Boris: a few answers to the points you raise:

1. Cyclestreets does have a downloadable map of the UK. You have to go into settings and change the map style to 'offline vector maps.' On an Android phone, this will prompt you to download a 1.5 Gb file from the Google Play market. It's free and it gives you offline navigation.

2. You're right - no dragging to change the route. The only thing you can do is replan the route as either 'fastest', 'balanced' or 'quietest.' As you say, it usually gives you a sensible route, but occasionally, you can find a much better option by eyeballing the map yourself.

3. It's got a sat nav function called 'live ride.' This has voice directions. (Personally, I don't like voice navigation. I use cyclestreets to plan a route, which I try to memorise. I think only consult my phone if I'm stuck working out which way to turn at a junction - it shows the route as a purple line on the map and you just have to press the 'locate' button to show where you are in relation to it. This is handy if you want to off piste a bit.)

I like both cyclestreets and osmand for different reasons. They're both free so best thing is to have a play with both.

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Location: Whitstable, Kent

Re: cyclestreets

Postby oneten » 13 Oct 2018, 5:17pm

I had a mainly successful experience using cycle streets in Live Ride mode on a ten day tour earlier this year. I basically did my route planning between the postcodes of campsites where I'd be staying by.using my laptop at home before the tour. I was then able to take the route reference number, key it into the phone app and a short number and I had all the individual routes available in my phone.
This was fine if I stuck to the set routes and the spoken directions were mostly good. Exceptions were instructions such as, "enter short un-named route" when this meant taking a short cycle path on part of a round about, continuing on and then hearing the dreaded "Moving away from route..." which would be closely followed by " Too far! Re-planning route" if you hadn't turned back quickly enough to find the correct way yourself. Instead of confirming that I was back on target, there would often be no further notification unless another mistake had been made or another confirmation much further on. That was frustrating at times. But in the main, especially on rural lanes and off road sections, it was helpful.
Using the phone app to plan a new section while underway was not as straight forward as anticipated; the interface of the app is different to that of the computer version and I still haven't quite worked this out where I can plan with confidence though setting start and finish points along with waypoints by tapping on the screen is becoming more familiar.
It get me where I wanted to be along with a couple of large scale paper maps cut out of a road atlas for a general overview and a decent OS map for one or two sections.
Occasionally, as per the warning on the website, not all parts of suggested routes are accessible and this proved true twice; once when it directed me over a few field tracks with locked gates and another time when I came face to face with the closed barrier of a scientific research station. The campsite I needed was just the other side and the helpful guard on the intercom raised the barrier and let me ride through, unlike his more unhelpful colleague who made me go round the long way on a totally unsuitable route the following morning!
Thing is, Cycle Streets is free, it definitely makes navigation easy for those of who can't afford a Garmin, so really it's well worth downloading ( and mounting the phone on the handlebars in a nice little zip-up case from Aldi).