Route Planning

Planning out your route in advance makes each ride less stressful, faster, and more fun! We have provided a number of resources for you to use on this page, but always recommend the following:

  • If your trip will involve biking on busy streets, try it out in advance on a weekend or some other less congested time when you can relax, explore, and find the best route. This will make your actual commute or shopping trip less stressful, as you will already know the way.
  • The best bike route is not always the most direct. While biking on any surface street is legal, you may want to try a different route than you would take if you were driving.
  • Street conditions can change with new construction, detours, road closures, and more. Plan and know a backup route in case the one you intended to take is not available.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable biking on a street, you don’t have to do it! One person’s idea of a great bike ride might be different from another’s, so if your route becomes too strenuous or busy you can always just take another route, hop on the bus or BART, or walk your bike on the sidewalk for a few blocks until you find somewhere you are comfortable riding again.
  • Attend a free Bike East Bay Urban Cycling 101 class, if you have not already. Our certified instructors will let you know about state and local bicycling laws, how to ride safely on streets with or without bike lanes, and even hook you up with some free gear! These classes are also a great place to meet other local bicyclists and share route tips.

Online Maps

 
Internet-based mapping resources are getting better, but are only as good as the data they rely on. Cities with more bicyclists tend to have better online route suggestions, but it is still important to always use your own judgement about whether or not you are comfortable biking on a particular street or pathway. Also, an online map isn’t very useful if you lose your cell signal or your battery dies, so try carrying a paper map as a backup.
 
  • Google Maps - Click on “Bicycling” to show bike routes (dotted green), lanes (light green), and trails (dark green). If a bike route you know of doesn’t show up, you can add it yourself after signing up for a free Google Map Maker account.
  • 511 BikeMapper (Get turn-by-turn directions)

Paper Maps


They might seem old-fashioned, but paper bike maps are still great to have because they can highlight information that the online resources don’t, such as hazardous intersections, bike shop locations, hills, and other local info. They are also lightweight and never run out of batteries!
 
Bike East Bay Maps - Our ‘West of the Hills’ and ‘East of the Hills’ maps are the only regional resources that provide details such as preferred routes (not just bike lanes), known hazard locations, hills, bike shop locations, and much more. You can purchase these maps online with your membership donation, at supporting bike shops, at the Bike East Bay office, or at various events around the East Bay.
 
City-specific maps - Some East Bay cities are now producing their own (usually free) bicycle maps, which detail all of the official routes around town. Many of these are available both online and in paper versions:

If there is a city bike map missing from this list please let us know!

Regional trail maps - These maps show mostly paved, off-street trails that connect multiple cities. The San Francisco Bay Trail runs along the coastline from Richmond down to Fremont, and will some day loop around the entire Bay Area. East Bay Regional Parks trails connect many cities around Contra Costa County, and parts of Alameda County, and are frequently used for both recreation and transportation.

Want to learn more? Sign up for one of our FREE classes at BikeEastBay.org/education, and earn a free set of bike lights or reflective gear!