The Free Cycle Map of Leith

There’s a lot of talk in the press today about the Bike Station’s new Innertube map. They’ve taken a very stylised approach to illustrating the whole off-road cycle path network in Edinburgh, inspired by the London Tube Map.

The Guardian helpfully uploaded it to Scribd.com, where you can view it in all it’s full screen glory.

Edinburgh’s Innertube Map – The Bike Station

However, cyclists on the City Cycling Edinburgh Forum were not all impressed. Some people argued that a more detailed map is more useful as it shows the connections between routes. Chris Hill, one of the people on the forum said: 

Clearly it’s ‘simplified’ but as it’s not all off-road it seems strange to miss crucial links like Telfer Subway and the curious route from Leamington Lift Bridge to Dalry Road which crosses the WAR.

I can’t understand why Roseburn Place is mentioned twice but not joined up.

Also missing is DMains to Cramond Brig and onwards.

I hope it will show people routes they didn’t know about and encourage them to explore (perhaps with the help of a ‘proper’ map), but there’s certainly the potential for much confusion…

Another user ‘Min’ was more generous:

“I suppose if the map is small it will be easy for people to pick up and have a look at and will serve as a starting point for finding the cycle paths. Plus you can download it for free and it is aimed at people who do not know about the off road cycle paths. These people are unlikely to pay for a Spokes map that they do not think will have any off road paths on it because they don’t know about them. Maybe?”

Clearly, different maps serve different purposes, and it is a mysterious rule of thumb that every cycle promotion project in history seems to have felt the need to produce their own map – often because each project has a slightly different target audience.

However, given the debate above, it’s perhaps worth pointing out that a detailed Active Travel map has been available for the Leith area of the city for a fair while now, online, for free. It was just a bit hidden on The Greener Leith Social. To make it easier to find, use and download, we’ve put it on Scribd.com too:

We Love Leith Map

To see a large version of either of the maps, click on the ‘full screen’ link above the map, and then in the bottom of the screen you can magnify the map even more to have a look in detail.

Whilst the ‘lower page’  of our map, which is the Future Travel Map is somewhat out of date (for example, we were told the tram would be finished by now), the map itself provides more detail than any cyclist could want on cycle paths, cycle lanes and cycle parking – as well as bus routes and the locations of City Car Club bays too.

For those of you who live or work in this part of the city, and would like more detail – enjoy!

Written by Ally Tibbitt

Ally Tibbitt is a member of Greener Leith. He looks after this website.


  • http://www.thenoseinvestigates.wordpress.com Tom Allan

    Interesting to see how strong the reaction has been on the forum you mention Ally.

    Some of the feedback and criticism should be very useful in making future editions of the map, and in building the interactive online version. But there's also some misleading information, particularly the suggestions that The Bike Station has spent £100,000 on printing the map. Not so.

    The funding from The People's Postcode Lottery Dream Fund is being spent on three things; conservation work on some of the routes, headed by Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust; new signage to make it easier for people to find and navigate the routes – and a social media project, which will promote the usage of the routes, highlight problems, campaign for improvements, and produce multimedia coverage of them.

    As for the issue of whether we need a new map for Edinburgh, I think the maps are intended to be complementary, rather than competing. The Spokes maps are great on detail – but not everyone is going to buy one – something some commenters said on the forum.

    The Innertube map will allow people to quickly get an idea of the options for getting around the city – for both residents and visitors. It's a quick visual hit that impresses upon you just how extensive our off-road network is. It's small, and it's free – a great introduction to the city's off-road cycle routes.

    And whilst I think that the feedback on the forum is useful, it does appear that a lot of the people complaining are seasoned cyclists who already know their way around the city, and already know about and make use of the off-road routes. And they are not really our target audience – we want to reach people who don't really know about the routes and get them interested and excited by them.