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In my area, I notice - on opencyclemap - a large number of orangish couloured tracks that are not explained in the legend. Some of them quite clearly seem to be accessible by mountain bike only. On the other hand there are excellent routes on small roads that are not marked at all.

So what do the orangish tracks really mean, where do they come from?

And could there not be a way to clearly indicate routes that can be taken with a road bicycle - as opposed to mountain bike routes?

asked 12 Jul '20, 21:46

wcra's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Can you post a link to an area that shows these so that people can look at the actual OSM tagging?

(12 Jul '20, 21:49) SomeoneElse ♦

Yes here you go:

That map shows a magenta-coloured track in the south, a regular cycle route (I did it yesterday), but it also shows the orange track on the North of the river, criss-crossing through the hills. I would not doubt that it is doable, but it is certainly in part only doable by mountain bike.

What I find disappointing is that the "legend" contains no mention of that colour, and also there seems to not be a way to distinguish paved roads from mountain bike tracks.

(13 Jul '20, 06:54) wcra

You're welcome to contact the author of OpenCycleMap to suggest in a friendly fashion that the legend should mention that the orange colour means a mountain bike route, but leave off the "disappointing", "uncomfortable" and "could there not" verbiage - it's not appropriate for something provided to you at no cost and with significant volunteer effort.

(13 Jul '20, 21:29) Richard ♦

All map layers provided on are independent third party projects and are not under control of the OSMF, except the "Standard" layer that is produced on OSMF hardware, but the design choices are again not controlled by the OSMF. With other words issues wrt rendering, design choices, map keys etc need to be directed to those projects. seems to be an MTB route which AFAIK is a relative recent addition to the OCM styling and simply seems to have not been added to the map key.

Routes in OSM are typically sign posted, or marked in other ways, routes, that can be followed. If there are such missing in your vicinity please feel free to add them, see Please do not add favorite laps and similar that are not signposted.

permanent link

answered 13 Jul '20, 13:48

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 13 Jul '20, 20:16

Thank you!

For a newcomer, or better: very occasional user, already that part, "who is in charge of what" is extremely difficult to comprehend. I understand now, but I find it uncomfortable that there are these maps out there and nothing on them shows what those tracks mean, who made them, what that person had in mind.

Is there really no more structure in this thing?

(13 Jul '20, 19:52) wcra

The whole point of OSM is that anybody can take the data and produce whatever they want with it. The available renderings on are just a few of dozens of maps that are available (including numberous cycling variants).

(13 Jul '20, 20:19) SimonPoole ♦

I have used OSM to understand railway lines in Europe, that was really fascinating. This had let me to believe that the large bicycling community would have been able to organize something really useful. My experience here is very negative, however: it's not just an incomplete legend, it's just that the information is utterly useless: the actual bicycling routes are not shown, and someone has drawn an arbitrary track on a map without even wanting to indicate what it is. Surely, there must be ways to organize this better.

Thank you anyway for your responses, I think the case can be closed.

(14 Jul '20, 20:01) wcra

Surely, there must be ways to organize this better.

The traditional OSM answer to that is "well, go on then".

You don't even need to do any organisation to create a map based on OSM data, It's relatively straightforward to create a map that shows cycle routes of any sort in any way that you wish (I've done it and written OSM diaries about how it was done). It's less straightforward to support the infrastructure to do that for the whole planet, but one local area (or one medium-sized country) shouldn't be a problem.

(15 Jul '20, 09:44) SomeoneElse ♦

If you encounter an error in OSM then 1) fix it yourself or 2) add a note so that others are aware of this problem and can fix it.

(15 Jul '20, 11:19) scai ♦

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question asked: 12 Jul '20, 21:46

question was seen: 2,258 times

last updated: 15 Jul '20, 11:19

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum