Blazing Trails: Award-Winning New Map Shows Off Cincinnati s Best Biking

Have you seen the new Red Bike kiosks popping up around the city?

Bicycling is increasingly popular around the country as people look to the human-powered conveyance to save on gas, get in shape, or just get out and explore their community. Cincinnati has recently been introducing more bike-friendly policies, such as dedicated bike lanes, but the city still presents some challenges to cyclists, not the least of which is navigating the area’s many iconic hills and valleys.

But help is on the way for Cincinnati cyclists, in the form of a glossy new bike map of the Tristate that is packed with useful information for getting the most out of your two-wheeled transport. Much more than a listing of bike lanes and trails, this map includes everything from bike shops to public transportation hubs, and from water fountains to grocery stores. But perhaps most important, the map clearly illustrates the changes in elevation as you travel around town, allowing cyclists to avoid unnecessarily steep climbs.

The map is the work of Nate Wessel, a graduate student studying geography at the University of Cincinnati. Using a combination of satellite imagery and a lot of leg work, Nate meticulously documented the city’s bike infrastructure over a six-month period, taking note of everything from street width to speed limits to the placement of traffic signals.

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Nate submitted his work to the student map competition at the annual meeting of the North American Cartographic Information Society, where he won first place. He has also written a paper detailing the process behind creating the map, which he has submitted to the journal

Cartographic Perspectives

. Thanks to some grant funding, Nate has printed hundreds of copies of the map to be distributed free of charge at local coffee shops and bike stores around the city.

The map is also

available online

, along with Nate’s previous project, a detailed public transportation map of Cincinnati.

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