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Ok...which maps for europe?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 9 Jan 2008.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Ideally I'd like a GPS but money is tight. So which maps are best in terms of detail, cost and importantly weight and bulk on the bike?

    Do those of you who tour across Europe take all your maps with you, or buy them as you travel?

    Which ones work best on a bar bag?

    Are there any waterproof maps?
     
  2. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Man-Machine Staff Member

    Location:
    Stevenage
    Certainly for France I've often photocopied the relevant pages from a decent road atlas - Michelin do one at 2km/cm which shows most roads.
    For a long one I'd buy maps as I went along, and bin them / leave them once I've ridden off the edge, as it were. Waterproof ones - I've not seen these for France. Most French supermarkets seem to stock local maps.
     
  3. Regulator

    Regulator Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography

    Go to somewhere like Stanfords and have a look/take some advice. The staff tend to be very knowledgeable.

    It depends on what sort of riding you're intending to do as to what level of mapping you will need. I've ridden extensively around Belgium and Northern France with basic road / cycle maps.

    If you are planning on touring in Belgium, get the new 'Knooppunt' maps - ignore the older 'langesfietsen' maps (which, although useful, are not as detailed).

    In France, you can use use the IGN 200 series for most riding.

    In Holland, get the ANWB maps and guides. The ANWB is the Dutch version of the AA / RAC but it has a lot to do with cycling and produces excellent maps and guides. (They are also introducing the 'knooppunt' system in Holland, but they will also be retaining the 'landelijke fietsroutes' system as well, unlike Flanders)
     
  4. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Location:
    Meanwood, Leeds
    I've said it before and I'll say it agin.

    Tear up a large scale motoring atlas. I had a couple of the Michelin 1:150,000 maps for the start and finish but a full set to cover the entire route would have cost around £35 and have been quite bulky. They are quite handy in that they indicate the presence of some campsites, probably the ones that pay to appear, and scenic roads are indicated by being shaded in green. On the other hand, a large scale road map can be had for under a tenner and knowing that campsites are plentiful the need to know in advance of the location of campsites is somewhat diminished.

    The money that I saved was partially spent on a cyclists' Rough Guide Or Lonely Planet guide to France. Worth it for the background information that it has along with an annotated diagram of a bike plus a cycling specific lexicon. It proved to be worth it's weight in gold when I had to buy replacement cycling shoes and a rear wheel. It allowed my to keep to my pledge to do all of my transactions in French on my tour.

    One of the cyclists on the European Bike Express that I used to get to and from France used the guide for his two week holiday around Provence and although the maps are small to the point of being almost unusable, he coped.
     
  5. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Location:
    Meanwood, Leeds
    The Michelin maps are far from water proof and even when dry are not particularly durable when being constantly folded and unfolded. It would be interesting tho know how much tohe local maps are. UK source Michelin mapa are about a fiver each.
     
  6. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Location:
    Meanwood, Leeds
    The Michelin maps are far from water proof and even when dry are not particularly durable when being constantly folded and unfolded. It would be interesting to know how much the local maps are in France. UK sourced Michelin maps are about a fiver each.

    My two Michelin maps are in front me right now and look worse for wear with tiny tears where the creases intersect at 90 degrees.

    The pages torn from the atlas are in better shape having been stored in plastic wallets and have had only a few folds before being fitted into my handlebar mounted map holder.

    All this talk of France is making me restless......
     
  7. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Man-Machine Staff Member

    Location:
    Stevenage
    Maps are not much cheaper in France - about 6 or 7 euro AFAICR. The road atlas pages end up being a much better shape for slotting into a bar bag, and as you rightly say, it's a lot cheaper doing it this way. And they're double-sided!
    If they're in a plastic wallet, in the top of a bar bag, they'll stand more rain that I'm prepared to tolerate on holiday.:angry:
     
  8. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    The atlas pages are what I used on my trip last summer, I found them useful for the general 'overview' and whilst I rode on A & B roads all was well. But as soon as I wandered off the B roads into the lanes I was in trouble. That is why I took some goldeneye maps as well which were fine (and laminated)...only they dont do them for France.

    I will copy road atlas pages, it's probably the cheapest option and perfectly adequate for most of th eriding...however i will need some more detailed maps or some kind of gps gizmo for the towns and smaller laners and paths etc I feel.
     
  9. mcr

    mcr Über Member

    Location:
    North Bucks
    Or print your own out from via.michelin.co.uk and even laminate them yourself (might be a lot of pages right across France, though...).

    Does anyone else lament the change of design for the new 1:200,000 mapping? OK the typography's clearer, but it doesn't look so inviting, somehow.
     
  10. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Location:
    Meanwood, Leeds
    The towns are very well signposted so I wouldn't worry about that aspect of navigation. If your destination disappears from the signposts while cycling through a large town, follow the 'autres directions' signs until your's pops up again.

    There isn't that much detail lost when using a large scale motroring atlas. Very few of the minor roads disappear and the ones that do really take you out of your way or lead to a dead end. It's handier being nearer to the larger villages with decent patisseries and cafes than the quiet backwaters with no premises offering tasty comestibles and/or refreshments.
     
  11. bianchi1

    bianchi1 Veteran

    Location:
    malverns
    My vote is for Michelin 1/200000. Ok so they are not waterproof and the folds cause them to rip, but nothing is better than finding an old map from a long forgotten tour, complete with wear and tear and scribbles that you can no longer remember what they mean. You can get a lot of memories from a map you dont get with gps.
     
  12. Regulator

    Regulator Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography

    I agree! I may use GPS but I'll always have maps for back up. Plus, there's just something about the folding and unfolding, together with the ability to trace the route on the paper with your finger, that is somehow comforting - something you don't get with a GPS unit.
     
  13. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Well I just went down to waterstones and bought an AA 'easy read' 2008 Road atlas of France. It is based on the IGN maps and has a scale of 1:180,000 or 2.8 miles to an inch and the pages are A4 size (ish). £12.99

    It has some basic town centre maps but those are not as detailed as I would like...but the rest of the maps are good. I can download street maps of the bigger towns en route from the net and print them if necessary.

    The A4 size means that folded in two each pages fits well into a bar bag map holder.

    My plan is to scan/copy the necessary pages (as the whole book is somewhat heavy) and use a simple plastic A4 wallet to keep them dry inside the map holder on top of my bar bag.

    So...job done...so much for all the high tech options and mapping sites I've been investigating....this is much simpler, quicker and cheaper for touring. No batteries required!
     
  14. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Location:
    Meanwood, Leeds
    Told you ;)
     
  15. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member