The last day of craziness is upon me as I get ready to leave for my bicycling trip to Normandy and Brittany. But before I leave, I wanted to pass along this information about a great bicycle trip planning tool that I discovered recently. I received a note from Ans Leenders from the Netherlands who was having problems trying to download GPS information for an upcoming trip along the Via Rhona. For whatever reason, he was having technical difficulty accessing the GPS files from the Via Rhona website. In the course of trying to find another place to access the GPS data, Ans discovered Biroto and luckily he passed the website on to me. And I am now passing it on to you!
On Biroto, you will find 364,542 km of cycle paths in Europe, both official trails and itineraries added by members of the Biroto community. For each cycle path, there is an interactive map, elevation profile of the path, downloadable GPS tracks, information about cyclist-friendly accommodations, local attractions and resources along the path. All of the information is available for downloading or saving to a travel file.
Biroto is kind of like a wikipedia for cyclists and is run out of Germany by Udo Fingerhut. Even if you are not planning a trip, you should visit the site and take a look at the resources that are available. The website is aimed primarily at touring cyclists like you and me who plan their own trips, use GPS devices for navigation and like to have access to resources along the route. Here is an example of route information available for the Ruhr Valley Cycle Route. Information for the route includes: cycle route metrics, GPS track data, start-end point, characteristics of the route, elevation, signposting and resources for additional information.
Best part about the website is that it is free! All you need to do to use the site is complete a very simple registration and you are ready to go! Similar to wikipedia, Biroto is a community website and you can add to the data base as well as use its resources. Users can upload gps tracks of their trips, can add or adapt descriptions of bike routes and tours, can plan stages and generate detailed maps of the destination in a tour book and can add cyclist-friendly accommodations and other resources.
Most of the information is in English, but there are some sections only in German. A quick translation using Google Translate and you have everything that you need.
If you like to travel the EuroVelo routes, Biroto is probably one of the best resources to access detailed GPS tracks for these routes. GPS tracks on Biroto have a minimum of 5 track-points per km. Biroto currently has GPS tracks for 64,469 km of EuroVelo routes. The EuroVelo tracks on Biroto are a composite of those from OpenCycleMap, tracks of national and local routes and recorded tracks of cyclists who have ridden the routes. If you are looking specifically for GPS tracks for EuroVelo routes, you can find the links here.
Simple, loaded with information, easy to use and free. As resources come and go, it doesn’t get any better than this! I give Biroto an A+. Let me know what you think!
Back to packing for my trip!