plotting gravel routes?

prhymeate Posts: 793
edited April 2019 in Tour & expedition
I've recently bought a gravel bike and would be nice to plot a mix of road/gravel routes. I've tried komoot but some of the mtb route suggestions are across fields and seem to follow walking routes which aren't always suitable. Sticking to official cycle routes seems to just put you on the road for the whole ride. I use ridewithgps for road rides which is great but how do people plot more off the beaten track routes without running into something impractical to ride?


  • lemonenema
    lemonenema Posts: 216
    I use
    It shows bridleways and footpaths so you can differentiate
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    There’s a number of different options. The main ones I find work the best are.

    1) Strava Heatmaps. Roads tend go glow Red due to high volume of riders. Off-road rideable sections tend to be blue, due to lower volumes of riders. If it’s passable on an MTB it’s pretty much always rideable on a Gravel/CX machine.
    2) Komoot. Switch it to MTB mode and it will plot off-road routes for you. The % breakdown of surfaces can be useful, it will estimate how much Singletrack, Asphalt, Dirt etc is included on the route, but this can be pretty inaccurate. Komoot is excellent for rerouting mid-ride if you have a problem or need to change where you’re going via the app.
    3) OS maps (freely available on Bing maps or the OS website) show all the bridleways
    4) Look for green bits on maps. These are either parks or forests, both are great for riding off road.
    5) Go explore. There’s a ton more routes than I ever expected for CX style riding, you can just stumble on them. It’s fun.
    6) is increasingly useful
    7) Copy routes from CX sportives
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    Also worth using google maps satellite view to see what the trails actually look like. There is always a bit of trial and error. Took me about a year to sort out a local 50 mile mainly off road route which goes on canals, byways, forestry trails, ex railway line and round a reservoir. On a gravel bike road sections go by fast and exploring is easy, bigger tyres reduce the beating some trails give you and can give better grip.
  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,412
    You can also use street view to check out the point where trails meet the road, can be useful in woods where satellite view doesn't really help.
  • neilkav1
    neilkav1 Posts: 91
    I’m also about to take delivery of first gravel bike, and will definitely look at some of these suggestions thank you!
    Would this be a good place for people to share gpx/tcx files of nice gravel routes they’ve done/discovered? Or is there a better section of the site? I’m in Cheshire, but will be happy to travel to find some nice routes.
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    Ive got a page on my blog dedicated to this kind of thing which covers quite a lot of the South East, add to it every time I find something new which could be of interest.