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  1. #1
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    good place to get maps?

    I'm looking to start heavily planning my Europe tour soon, and I need to figure out where I can get some good and detailed maps to help me plan this whole thing out. Where do you guys get your maps?

  2. #2
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    Where in Europe are you going? Amazon.com sells Michelin maps for whole countries and parts of some countries, I was happy with my Michelin map of Scotland when I went there in May '04. Sustrans (www.sustrans.org.uk) sells maps of the Nationol Cycle Network routes, which people either love or hate (the routes, that is). Sustrans also sells the Goldeneye map series, which I found to be excellent when I was in England and Wales in 2000. The yellow regional Michelin maps of different regions of France are excellent, I used them a lot when I was there in 2001. Lots of French supermarkets and newsstands sell these, I don't know where you would get them in the US. Touring Club Italiano (www.touringclub.it) sells lots of maps, I'm going to try the 1:200,000 series when I go there in May '06. I plan on buying a TCI membership and ordering maps off the website before I leave. The Institut Geographique Nationale (French National Geographic Institute) sells excellent hiking/cycling maps off of their website, I haven't used these. The Lonely Planet Cycling guides are OK, I would suggest incorporating parts of their routes into your own plans instead of just blindly following the Lonely Planet route.
    HTH,
    mark

  3. #3
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    Well, where all I'm going is somewhat up in the air at this point. I'm finishing up school in the spring, and saving up tons of money in the process. I don't have a job to worry about, and so far my basic plan is to fly into aberdeen, ride down to the south of england and make my way over to france. Then I'm just gonna ride until I run out of money. But my basic thought is to ride north from paris through belgium and the netherlands, and then into germany and start making my way south, maybe as far east as poland as well.

    edit: oh, yeah, what's a good scale for these guys anyway?

  4. #4
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    I started to really enjoy Scotland when I got north and west of Pitlochry, in the Highlands. The Lonely Planet cycling guide to Great Britain has some good routes in Scotland, the Highlands and Islands route on the west coast is really good.
    Instead of flying into Aberdeen, a good way to get to Scotland is to fly into London and take the Caledonian Sleeper overnight train to Edinburgh, Glasgow, or somewhere further north. If you book far enough in advance and travel on the right days you can get some really cheap fares. I went from London to Edinburgh for 19 pounds in May '04, had a sleeper compartment and my bike travelled free. Check www.nationalrail.co.uk for train fares.

    England gets very crowded as you head south, you'll want maps that show all the tiny little country lanes in order to avoid heavy traffic. The Sustrans/National Cycle Network routes have a lot of drawbacks, but they get you into some very scenic places and they keep you out of traffic.

    It's not a very direct way to get to France, but if you're travelling from north to south in the UK you really should try to get to Wales. Very pretty country, lots of tiny little lanes to ride on, lots of short steep hills.

    My Michelin map of Scotland was 1:400 000, that was an acceptable scale for Scotland but a smaller scale would have been nice. Definitely go for 1:100 000 for England and the more crowded parts of the continent. You'll need the smaller scale to find less travelled roads.

    Check out this forum for more info on touring in the UK and the European continent:www.cyclingplus.co.uk/forum/.

  5. #5
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    3rd The Michelin series, and using bits from the Lonely Planet cycle guides. A nice listing of the whats available in the Michelin series can be found at the Globe Corner Bookstore. I can never navigate the Michelin site very well.

    There are a few other series as well-Freytag&Berndt makes some very detailed ones (hiking&biking). Esterbaur's "Bikeline" series are very nice for many of the defined routes. Should be able to pick them up at a descent outdoors store/giant boolstore once your in Europe.

    Don't forget about "freebies" either. Some countries have some passable maps for free from there national tourism sites, some for a fee. A few have some rather nice online routing (ex Austria if memory serves). The tourist kiosks may be of some help as well. I picked up a map in a Budapest kiosk just by chance, and it turned out better than the one I had brought with me.
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    I have to second(and third) the Michelin Maps. I've not cycled the UK or western Europe, but I have walked/hitchhiked both. The Michelin and BP branded maps have always been accurate enough.When I did Eastern Europe(Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary)Michelin maps were available and quite good for routes.

    Truth be told, though, my general routes were just that. Sketches of where I wanted to go, final routes were decided after talking to locals and looking at any maps that were available.

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    Stanfords, the specialist map shop in London stocks just about every map you could ever want.
    http://www.stanfords.co.uk/

    I like Freytag & Berndt maps for Central/eastern Europe, they are a good scale and show tracks and trails as well as roads.

  8. #8
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    There are a few other series as well-Freytag&Berndt makes some very detailed ones (hiking&biking). Esterbaur's "Bikeline" series are very nice for many of the defined routes. Should be able to pick them up at a descent outdoors store/giant boolstore once your in Europe.
    Both the Bikeline and Freytag&Berndt cycling maps and guides are excellent, but it is not always easy to locate shops that sell them. On my last trip I postponed getting the Bikeline guide for the upper Rhine until I got to Strasbourg (didn't want the weight), but I couldn't find them anywhere in Strasbourg, which is on the French side of the Rhine. I guess they don't sell them in France. I cycled my first two days out of Strasbourg with an inferior guide, and got lost (you can't just follow the river).

    I recommend you try to get the maps before leaving. Bikeline has a website http://www.bikeline.at/ but you can not order from that site. I found a site that does sell them http://www.buch24.de/Sport/Radsport_.../2-7817-2.html but it is in German and I am not sure where they will ship. Can anyone suggest an English-language site that sells them?

  9. #9
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Following up on my message, if Stanfords carries Bikeline or Freytag& Berndt, I can't find them.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kesroberts's Avatar
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    I'll second the recommendation of the Globe Corner Bookshop. We found that their prices were as good or better than we could get on the same maps in Italy.

  11. #11
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    See
    http://www.stanfords.co.uk/mapdetail...427&loc_id=598

    The 1:150000 to 1:200000 scale maps are not always listed under cycling maps for each country.
    Check out the F&B page at
    http://www.freytagberndt.at

  12. #12
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Adding SHOcart to the list, for very detailed maps of the Czech Republic as well. Perfect for hiking, allmost too detailed for just cycling.

    They also publish the Prague/Vienna greenways map&guide (in German&Czech only), which is available through the friends of the Czech Greenways. I found the more detailed series at the Freytag&Berndt store in Vienna.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf
    England gets very crowded as you head south, you'll want maps that show all the tiny little country lanes in order to avoid heavy traffic. The Sustrans/National Cycle Network routes have a lot of drawbacks, but they get you into some very scenic places and they keep you out of traffic.

    It's not a very direct way to get to France, but if you're travelling from north to south in the UK you really should try to get to Wales. Very pretty country, lots of tiny little lanes to ride on, lots of short steep hills.
    I'll go with Mark on this. Sustrans does have a Joh O'Groats to Land's End map book. It will save you a fortune in OS maps.

    If you consider Wales, have a look at my tour diaries. A little further east in England they also have some very pretty countryside. I'm always amazed that even through Britain has a high population density, there still seems to be lots of room.

  14. #14
    Member eU_ExpaT's Avatar
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    Just ran into these maps on our last tour to Germany on trail # 19: http://www.germany-tourism.de/biking/05_route19.html

    These are excellent maps tht include maps of course, pensions with prices, and points of interest. Unfortunately they are in German but can be deciphered. Here is the link:
    http://www.esterbauer.com/

    They also have a list of English maps on the bottom left link. Even the German language ones had a key with dual English/German, so reading the map part was easy. Very detailed and accurate maps.
    Last edited by eU_ExpaT; 11-09-05 at 10:40 AM. Reason: add on....
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