A friend and I are finishing our year abroad by taking a two-month tour of Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland, Scotland, England, and Wales. We've got the standard Michelin road maps, but we're aware that there are traffic-free cycle routes in parts of Europe. The trouble is, we can't find any maps of these routes, and if we do find vague pictures of their location, we have no idea how to match them up to our road maps so we can actually find and use the bike routes. Can anyone point me to where I can find/buy bike route maps? I'm currently in Dublin.
True North tourer (www.truenorthcycles.com), 2004; Miyata 1000, 1985
I used Michelin maps in France, and found them to be excellent. Guided by Michelin maps, I completed a two-week trip through Alsace and Burgundy almost entirely on back roads. I even discovered a logging road on the map that allowed me to avoid a heavily-trafficked mountain pass in southern Alsace.
Last summer in Italian-speaking Switzerland, I was guided by a set of excellent maps that I received at no cost from the Swiss tourist office. They mailed me detailed cycling maps of Ticino; I don't know whether the tourist office has maps of other parts of the country.
From Holland Tourism site (go to Tulips, windmills and more* >*Culture* >*Bicycling* >*Maps* >*Bicycling maps):
"Before you hop on a bike in Holland, it is a good idea to buy a cycling map. The smallest country roads and lanes, cycling tracks and villages are indicated on the combined cycle- and road maps.
The ANWB/VVV (Tourist Information Office) sells bicycling maps. They are available for every province in Holland. Very useful, for instance, if you want to plan your own route or want to know where you are, once you have reached an unplanned destination. With a good, detailed cycling map the possibilities are endless.
’FIETSIDEEËNKAART’ (BICYCLE INSPIRATION MAP)
Possibilities for touring cyclists are growing every year. The ‘Fietsideeënkaart’ is a useful reference tool. You can find ideas for a bicycle trip or vacation in the overview map of Holland and in the suggestion section. The ‘Fietsideeënkaart’ can be obtained at the local tourist offices (VVV's)."
Belgium for Biking, (a page of the main Belgium tourist site) seems to focus mainly on commercial tour operators. There is a poorly scaled map of routes on this page however. They also state: "Local Tourist Offices in Belgium provide Information on biking routes." Seems a bit vague...
Switzerland Tourism (bike info page). Note the nice national bike route page. Seems you can order map sets through them. I'd think one could overlay a detailed Michelan map just from the web site (say link Village to Village)-with stops at tourist information along the way for detailed info (historical/cultural/natural) of sites to see. [Similar would seem to apply for Belgium above, and Italy bellow.]
--Sorry for the long post. Again, seems you could buy (or xerox) bits of a detailed map for the countries you would like to cycle through(cheapest option). Then stop and chat with folks at various Tourist informations along the way--(and its another nice way to meet more folks as well).
Surely there are commercial mapped route guides available for the individual countries (the Lonely Planet cycling France comes to mind). I personally, would not want to carry them all-copied sections perhaps.
The Bikeline guides are excellent. While only one or two have been translated into English, the strip maps are still excellent. The web site is only in German, but it still gives an indication of what is available. Go to http://www.esterbauer.com/ then click on Radtourenbucher, then the country, then on each guide listed. I do not know where you can buy these guides online, and I have not seen them in bookstores outside Germany and Austria.