Which Garmin routable line works best for cycleways?


My custom Garmin maps for my Garmin Montana 600 work for normal highways but not for cycleways and I’m wondering how to make them so that the names display when I’m riding on one and that I can create a bicycle route using cycleways. I’m using Garmin’s customizable_route_5 line and the hex code 0X11 in my lines style file. I use a Montana 600 on both bicycle and car.

When I’m driving on a highway with no active route, it displays “Driving on Main Street” for example, however, when I’m riding on a named cycleway it says only “Driving west” or similar. And I cannot get either Basecamp or my GPS to use the cycleways for routing.

Any suggestions?

Hi Dave,

the hex code isn’t very important (it’s more about rendering), the routing algo looks at road class and speed. I think it is difficult to have a single map that works well for car AND bicycle reg. routing. With a car you probably prefer major roads, with a bike you typically want minor roads or cycle ways.
The normal solution is to have two maps, one for car routing, one for bicycle (and of course with different ids)
Reg. names of cycleways: That’s quite normal. The cycleways normally don’t have a name.

Thanks for the reply, Gert, but I’m still confused. Sometimes when I’m riding my bike near or on a named highway=path, my Montana will say, “Driving on Garden Path” but it never does that for named cycleways. Why should it behave that way for a path but not a cycleway?

I’m willing to make two maps if that’s what is needed but then how do I create a map that is set up for bicycle routing as opposed to normal routing?

Hi Dave,

Not sure what you mean with a named cycleway. Maybe it’s part of a named route=bicycle relation but doesn’t have a name?

Well, as a starter a map for a bicyle would not allow traffic on motorways. trunk or primary roads should get a road class 0 so that Garmin avoids them. Route restrictions need filtering if they don’t apply to bicycles.
It’s not easy to get good long distance routing for bicycles because the Garmin routing algo expects a road network like that for cars. It tries to bring you onto a class 3 road (motorway), but there is no such network for bicycles.
Look for example at the OpenFietsMap style https://github.com/ligfietser/mkgmap-style-sheets/tree/master/styles

Ah, I see now what you mean. That is a lot of work for something I seldom need so I guess I’ll just live with the fact that I can’t use routing for my bicycle. I usually just use my bicycle for commuting in the city or on bicycle paths, and don’t need to create routes over long distances. I was mostly curious about why it wouldn’t route on cycleways on those few occasions when I did need it. You’ve answered that question for me. Thanks.

A named cycleway is simply one that has a name. Here in Oregon, there are named cycleways everywhere; “North Bank Path”, “South Bank Path”, Rosa Parks Bike Path", etc. It’s not super important to see the name appear on the Garmin but again, I am curious to know why it doesn’t. Is there a style command that would apply a name, if one exists, to a cycleway?

Thanks for all your help.

You can download cycle-specific maps from https://extract.bbbike.org/
For Garmin devices choose the Latin1 format.

Thanks, BikePC.

That’s a valuable site with an easy-to-use interface. I’ve downloaded a map of my local area and will try it out tomorrow.


Those maps work really well.

I have a couple of questions about the maps.

How often are they updated?

When I’m being driving on an unnamed way that is tagged highway=cycleway, my Garmin displays “Driving on alley” rather than “Driving on cycleway” which is a little bit misleading. Is there a way to alter that behavior?

Thanks again,


I can use the original “OpenFietsMap” Benelux from www.openfietsmap.nl - it covers my area. Because extract.bbike.org is mentioned as an alternative for other area’s I placed the suggestion here to use that one. Myself I have no experience with the several extract.bbike.org maps. Update scheme seems to be weekly, but I cannot verify that for you.
Note you can select many different formats. Which one did you use? With the OpenFietsmap (OFM) on my Edge Explore I cannot reproduce your findings.
The Edge Explore had a time that when riding on a road a text window came up “Riding on…” with … being name of the road (named roads or cycleways), or ‘cycleway’ or ‘road’, etc. for unnamed cycleways and ways. With newer device software versions this function has disappeared and only the next turn on the course is mentioned (Turn Guidance).
So, my assumption is that your ‘problem’ may be in the device software? But also the map data may have influence.

Because you cannot change the device software - assuming that you have already the last version - my advice would be to experiment with some different map formats from extract.bbike.org. For example Garmin Openfietsmap, Garmin Cycle or Garmin BBBike - all latin1

Every Saturday but the info in from the Monday before.
See also https://download.bbbike.org/osm/planet/

Thanks for the help. I just requested a download of my area in Garmin cycle format. I’ll let you know how that works.

I should title this reply with the Rolling Stones’ title “You can’t always get what you want”, because I’ve tried several of the offerings in the excellent BBBike site for Garmin devices and I’m still not a happy cyclist.

Some of the choices do exactly what I want, they use cycleways instead of highways or residential streets to route me to a destination. However, the visual display of highways and other features is so plain and boring that I decided to check some other offerings from that site. The ones that have the most pleasing display, varieties of Openfietsmap (Lite and Full), are beautiful to look at but route me along highways, seemingly ignoring cycleways unless they are the only ways available. In Basecamp with the Activity set to Cycling, I can alter a route to follow cycleways but when out on the road with only my GPS, that method isn’t workable.

The question is, how to get the routing in Openfietsmap to work like the routing on some of the simpler maps? Is there a way to modify the style files for Openfietsmap so that it prefers cycleways over normal highways?

In short, I’m looking for a map that gives me the best of both worlds — a pleasing display with routing on cycleways instead of highways. Note that I have my Routing Activity preferences set to Cycling on my Garmin Montana GPSr.


Did you check if avoidance of highways is checked in the routing preferences in the Cycling profile on the Montana? I’m asking this because using the same map in Basecamp your routes follow cycleways and not highways.

Aha! That’s the trick. Now they work perfectly.

I was under the mistaken impression that the avoidance of those types of ways was built into the map.

Many thanks, BikePC.