Click the image to download a pdf of the Birmingham cycle route map
A Birmingham cyclist has taken inspiration from London Underground map creator Harry Beck in a bid to get people on their bikes.
Nick Meara, who cycles about 3,000 miles a year in the city, has created a map showing the city’s traffic-free cycle network in the style of the legendary cartographer.
The “Top Tube Map” shows 21 different routes across Birmingham using a mixture of paths, unsurfaced paths and canal towpaths.
Mr Meara, who has also created 10,000 leaflets to hand out across the city, said he hoped it would encourage more people into the saddle as he believes Birmingham is a great place to cycle.
He said: “When people think about Birmingham they often think about things like Spaghetti Junction and that Telly Savalas video. I wanted to show Birmingham is changing.
“There are all these cycle routes for people to use which run through green spaces like Cannon Hill Park, Sutton Park, Kings Norton Park and Sheldon Valley.
"Hopefully when people see this then they might be more inclined to cycle than take the car.
“I cycle a lot and there are double the amount of people now than a couple of years ago. I think things are changing because of the petrol price and I wanted to show people what was available.”
The map was launched at toptubemap.com this month and had almost 2,000 visits in its first week.
It follows in the footsteps of a London Underground-style map of Edinburgh’s cycle path network created last year as part of a focus on cycling in the city.
Mr Meara, who works as a project manager, said the map came about after a conversation on the birminghamcyclist.com website.
He said: “There was a bit of a discussion about it, so I did an exploratory sketch and got some feedback and it has gone from there. I have always been interested in maps and cartography and I studied geography.”
Mr Meara is also distributing 10,000 leaflets, funded by tubing firm Reynolds Technology in Hall Green, which has been supplying the cycling sector in the region for decades.
He said: “I approached Reynolds and they offered to cover the printing costs. They were really interested.
“The leaflets are free and people can also download them from the website.
Mr Meara also secured £1,000 worth of funding from Bournville Village Trust to cover production costs and starting up the website.
While that is short of the £98,100 fund from the People’s Postcode Lottery enjoyed by the Edinburgh scheme – which included investment in maintaining cycle routes and putting up signs – he has similarly grand plans.
He said: “That is the next step for me. I would like to get some funding for things like signs that would allow people to orient themselves.”
* To see the full map and download a PDF, visit www.Toptubemap.com or click the image at the top of this article.