Do you attach your map to the bike or have some sort of desktop or how do you maintain your map during touring? You surely need some sort of cover but if you have how do you attach it to your bike or do you keep it in your pocket? Exploring different ways for maps, seen some pannier-attached map things but there are surely many other. Experiences?

  • Pantry-attached??
    – onestop
    Commented Feb 19, 2011 at 22:09
  • 1
    Question is polling the community. I know this is rather late, but vote to close. Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 23:59
  • GPS. problem solved :-)
    – Dagon
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 21:40

10 Answers 10


Doesn't address your question with regard to maps, but I've found it easier to work from turn-by-turn cue sheets instead. I almost always ride a predetermined route, even if it's just something quickly charted up pre ride. Luxury is of course having access to google maps and being able to print out directions. I print out (or write out, sometimes you have to fall back to the basics) the text list of turns with cumulative mileage (most important!) as a cue sheet, then just clip it to my shifter cables with 3 or so binder clips. You'd think the wind would be a problem but I've done it hundreds of miles and never had an issue.

enter image description here

When you get lost, or the plan changes (it inevitably does) we'll stop and break out the map and come up with an updated plan and turn schedule.

I find this way much more enjoyable because you can relax between turns knowing when and where to look out for what's next.

  • What is "turn-by-turn cue sheets"? You mean some sort of notebook or something like that without any water protection (maybe no prbolme but need to understand it first)? What is shifter cables and binder clips? What do they look like? Sounds perfect backup plan or main plan, have to learn it, anyway +1 for suggesting down-to-earth solution!
    – user652
    Commented Feb 20, 2011 at 4:23
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    Here's an example of a fancy cue sheet, just a piece of paper with turns listed on it cvillebikeclub.org/cuesheets/Batesville_Afton.htm As for binder clips, I'm talking about this mini clips: abilityonecatalog.com/imgLg/7510002855995gp.jpg.
    – Sk606
    Commented Feb 20, 2011 at 4:30
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    here's a picture of the basic idea: lh6.ggpht.com/pschaida/SP9uK-P3hFI/AAAAAAAABh8/x91iFTgqLDk/s576/…
    – Sk606
    Commented Feb 20, 2011 at 4:38
  • @Sk606: how can you calculate such precise cumulative mileage? That is not errorsome? How have you chosen the break points and regroups? Does regroup mean that you change the first rider or does it mean something else?
    – user652
    Commented Feb 20, 2011 at 17:14
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    Good idea. Obviously you don't live in Britain. :-) Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 9:04

I have seen some handlebar bags that have a slot for maps on the top. The map pocket is usually clear plastic designed to keep the map dry. (Hopefully this isn't what you meant by "pannier-attached map things" -- I have never heard of/seen those; maybe you were thinking handlebar bags?)

There are lots of bags that have this (Google "handlebar bag map pocket" if you want to check them out). Here is an example.

photo of bag with map pocket

  • thank you for the notice. I just thought that all of these bags were called just pannier, apparently not.
    – user652
    Commented Feb 20, 2011 at 3:46
  • This is what I do with my maps and it is freaking fantastic. I'm not sure if this is the case with all bags, but on the one I have the map pocket is attached at the top and can be flipped up to see what is underneath. I usually stick some notes or turn-by-turn directions in there that I think I'll want to access every so often.
    – jimchristie
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 19:30

1st option

The best solution: Have a navigator with you, who has a handlebar bag with a map sleeve:

Navig^^^^^Stoker cockpit

Navig^^^^^Stoker cockpit

2nd option

Otherwise I almost always ride with a handlebar bag, which has a transparent map sleeve on top. Both options on the same picture:

Two maps possible, in case you want to go different routes

Two maps possible, in case you want to go different routes

3rd option

On trips without handlebar bag, but with low rider panniers, I have used a clear Ortlieb map case strapped on top of one of the low rider panniers. For me it is possible to read the important details on the map even at this distance, at least on smooth roads.

4th option

I had some of my most interesting days on the road when I deliberately rode home from almost 1000 km away, through an area where I mostly had not been before, without a map or compass. Only road signs, imagination, common sense and asking people. I should really do that again...

  • Like my answer not that great for those on solos, but +1 for the fantastic photos and variety of options. Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 8:39

I usually make my map before and upload it on my garmin, i have the same map on my phone via google map in case i need more details (which I keep in my backpocket).

If i don't want to go to a certain location but just want to ride, I let my garmin goes and use the "return home" feature when it start to get late.


Zip tie + Binder Clip on Stem clamping to a 1 Gallon Ziplock Plastic bag with properly folded map inside. Alternatively, if that's not secure enough, use 2 binder clips + zip ties on the handlebars.

I found a similar DIY setup using velcro wire ties
(source: oklahomabicyclesociety.com)

via Oaklahoma bicycle Society

  • I can sort of imagine, but a picture would be neat. Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 2:21
  • I'd make it a bit more narrow than the setup above, but you get the idea. The nice thing about using binder clips instead of velcro, is that you can unclip and flip without opening the bag and you don't need to make it any wider than the map and there are no holes for water to get in.
    – Benzo
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 2:49

It's usually in my pocket. My long distance riding is often in remote areas, so I find that I usually don't need a map right in front of me since route changes are frequently miles (kilometers) apart. If in a tricky route area perhaps something like this. A map cover could probably be homemade pretty easily if one was so inclined.


Granted this answer is not for everyone, but it is simple for tandem riders. As the helmsman/captain I wear a Camelbak with elastic webbing which holds the OS map conveniently in front of the stoker (I have a photo somewhere). I get funny looks when I walk into shops with a map on my back, though.

If the scale is large enough it can be read while pedalling, although I'm sometimes told to keep still so gradient lines can be read.


On my tour across the US, I bought a statewide gazetteer at a gas station whenever I entered a new state, and then threw away all the pages that I wasn't planning on going through. I kept the rest in a pannier, inside a large ziplock freezer bag to keep them dry.

Whenever I stopped for a snack (about every couple of hours), I'd pull out the page where I was and look ahead for the next couple hours -- usually this would only be a few turns to remember (or none, in Montana). At dinner I would pore over the map from that day and for the next day to regroup mentally and plan for what was coming up.

It probably depends on your comfort level with your "sense of direction" and where you are touring, but in most places without a ton of roads it's surprisingly easy to find your way around -- you just take the road that heads west/north/whatever.

  • Yep, the Delorme maps are still some of the best available. Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 4:47

I use one of these from Decathlon. Not sure if they ship to the US, but it works great (although from the one review looks like the quality has dropped).

Decathlon Bike Map Holder

For smaller maps or cue sheets, I use a velcro cable tie and a binder clip:

McGyver cue sheet holder

  • BarMap of the Gods is another similar map holder. It unfolds to display a (more or less) full page, and folds up to display a roughly 1/4 page map. Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 23:00
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    Your last picture reminds me of a Strava segment I rode - it was complex so I wrote a cue sheet onto a proper Post It note and stuck it to the top of my gopro case so that it poked straight backward. The note stuck on for the whole 2 hours and coped with some 50+ km/h descents. Only downside was some flapping when we hit 50, which was minor.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 0:33

I had the older version of this Vaude Discover Box for long touring and found it indispensable:

Vaude Discover Box

I always had a map in the map pocket and kept all the stuff I needed ready access to in the bag/box i.e. wallet, camera, snacks, etc. It opens from the rider side so you can access it on the move and it unclips so you can take it with you when you stop.