A cycling map is an important instrument for information. People use it to orient themselves on their way or to plan their route beforehand. A cycling map gives recommendations about cycle paths and routes and information about their quality concerning surface or volume of traffic. A cycling map can be designed only for cyclists or it can be a map for everybody with special information for cycling, thus motivating new people to try it. A cycling map does not substitute a signing system, as many people are not able or do not like using a map.

The map design should attach importance especially to readability. Contrast, scale, detailing, legend and integration of further information are important issues to consider.

Handling must be easy to make it usable on the bicycle. The material should be tough. Simple cycling maps can be spread out for free, financed by the municipality or by advertisements. Detailed and ambitious cycling maps from publishing houses are sold by bookshops and compete with conventional maps.

Preparing a cycle map needs, but also can create a lot of knowledge about the cycling infrastructure. This knowledge should be used for analysing, planning and improving the cycling network.