Coolest San Francisco Bike Map Ever


Click image to view full PDF of map

I’ll admit I’ve been known to kinda geek out on maps. It started when I was a kid and somehow ended up with a ton of National Geographic maps. National Geographic Magazine used to include full maps in some of their magazine editions (do they still?) and I had a large cardboard box full of them. From topo maps to maps of the moon to a map of concentrations of religions across the world, I was introduced to the idea that maps could convey a lot more information than just place names, roads and boarders. That’s why, despite some of the comments to the post on See Through Maps, I think this is one of the neatest maps of bike routes in San Francisco yet. 

Created by Mat Kladney, the map represents bike routes the way city transit maps show bus and train routes. Routes are color-coded lines, and intersections are represented the way “stations” are on BART diagrams. This map (or chart, or diagram, if you want to get into semantic arguments about what actually constitutes a map) quickly and easily answers a fundamental question that cyclists face in the city: what is the best route to get from this location to that location. In Mat’s own words:

The current San Francisco bicycle map is difficult to approach, especially when answering the simple question, “how to I get from here to there?”  This map has everything you might possibly want in a bicycle map in a hilly city: the grade and name of every San Francisco street, four different types of bike lane, even contour lines for every hill from Twin Peaks to the slight elevation change found in the Mission.  Unfortunately by trying to be everything, it loses much of its usability.  Tracking the best way to get across the city becomes more difficult when confronted with so much data.  This new simplified map helps cyclists to quickly and easily find the shortest route through town.


I for one will keep a copy of this on my portable devices for reference when I need to figure out the best way to get from where I am to where I need to go.  Thanks Mat!


  1. max says:

    this map blows. why do they only name the most obscure neighborhoods? why don’t they name the streets the routes are on?

  2. JustAnotherCyclist says:

    Regarding the neighborhoods – my impression was that this guy was labeling hills to avoid if you don’t want to climb instead of neighborhoods. I do agree that the “normal” bike route map (that has bike routes on top of a city map) is way to cluttered and noisy to read. I also tend to navigate via way points or markers – like go to the intersection of such-and-such and then turn left. That makes this map more useful to me than a standard street map.

Leave a Reply