Redesign beta

We've now got the new site designs turned into browsable demo pages - though not plugged into the real site database yet! They're just sample pages that show what the site will feel like so people can give feedback.

You can see the demo pages at:

Please browse around, try it on different devices (it's designed to adjust well to mobile) and let us know your thoughts.

The key changes from the live site to the new design are:

  1. The design is modernised, and the site is now mobile-friendly automatically.
  2. We've got rid of issues vs threads - instead, each discussion is a standalone discussion, linked using tags.
  3. The main Discuss page is a combination of the old My Cyclescape and various other listings - by default, it shows you all discussions in your group, but if you find there are too many discussions, you can use the map filtering on the right which will let you change from everything in the group's area, to any areas you define.
  4. The discussion page works much more like modern social media sites - you will see the latest unread discussions, and you'll be able to scroll up to see earlier discussion. No more long scrolling down the page to see things!
  5. The signup process is much simpler. No need to define map areas either! We want to remove barriers to getting new people involved, a key problem on the current site.
  6. There's a new Add a new idea section which will allow general members of the public to submit ideas that campaigner members can 'cherry-pick' off the map. This probably won't make the initial launch.

Bear in mind the following points when looking around the sample pages:

  • It's not a real live website - the pages won't actually submit any information, show real discussions or let you log in.
  • There's a single page to represent all the parts of the site, but each just has sample info, e.g. the profile page gives an idea of what a person's profile is like.
  • There are a few inconsistencies, e.g. some parts say York vs Camden for the campaign group. Don't worry about that kind of thing. (We used a range of labels to ensure that text will fit properly.)
  • Pretty-much all functionality has been carried over. Nothing significant (e.g. e-mail integration) has been removed.
  • The map displays don't currently show clickable pins in this demo.

To give us feedback, please use the live site's feedback page. (The demo one in the new design obviously won't work!)

Example group homepage
An example group homepage

Thanks to Patrick for his hard work on the design and the HTMLification.

Redesign drafts

We've been working with our designer, Patrick, to create the designs throughout the site.

As you can see, these modernise the look and feel of the site, and deal with a lot of usability issues

The changes overall are:

  • We remove the concept of issues vs threads and just have discussions - which are then linked together by tags.
  • As a result, we now simplify all the various listings down to a single page, with filtering.
  • Filter panel on the right, so that discussions can be easily filtered.
  • There is no up-front requirement to set an area - by default the discussions shown will be everything from the group, but a geographical filter can be set if wanted, using the right-side panel.
  • New account creation is much simpler, so we don't put people off getting involved.
  • The public can now submit ideas, and site users can then pluck these off the map to turn them into a discussion.
  • Similarly, there is a map of planning applications that can easily be turned into a discussion.
  • In the reply box, attaching other media now has a far more sensible user interface.
  • The site's look and feel is modernised and friendly.
  • Have proper mobile responsiveness.

Redesign proposals – give us your thoughts!

We've been talking to users of the site, and have come forward with a set of proposed changes to how Cyclescape works, which will make it easier to use, as well as ensuring that more issues get lodged.

Proposed Cyclescape changes - draft wireframes (version 1, 7th February)

Proposed Cyclescape screen wireframes (version 2, 23rd February)

Update May 2021: Due to the pandemic, work on taking these forward got paused, but we are pleased to say that the design work is progressing again at last.

Redesign coming soon

Over the last five years, we've received lots of feedback about the Cyclescape website, which started in 2012, as well as much experience ourselves as users.

As a result of funding from our new project StreetFocus, we're pleased to announce that we will shortly be starting work on a full-scale redesign of the Cyclescape site. We expect the design work to be finalised in February and will then be rolling out as developer time permits shortly after that.

This will be a full-scale revamp. As well as a fresh visual look and a new mobile-friendly interface, this will tackle seven key areas of usability:

  1. Generally, reorganising screens to reduce confusion and make the site concepts much clearer and easier to understand;
  2. User onboarding process is poor - currently users have to go through far too many screens to get set up;
  3. Lightweight issue reporting model, so that many more issues can be reported in a more lightweight way;
  4. The issues map is unusable when many area-wide issues present - we want the map to be a stronger focus, and much nicer;
  5. Subscription by theme, e.g. ‘cycle parking’ rather than purely by geographical area;
  6. Dealing with general chat discussions that are neither geographical nor administrative, which has always never really worked;
  7. Planning application integration to add new features such as automatically linking to key documents.

Please do take the opportunity to fill in our survey to give us your thoughts on the site.

An unusable map - one of the many problems we plan to tackle

Survey – what would you most like us to improve?

We're busy working on various improvements and new features for Cyclescape, and we know there are usability things still needing work. So we'd really welcome your views on what your priorities for improvement would be.

Please fill in our quick survey!

We've also recently obtained a grant from Innovate UK / Geospatial Commission, for a project called StreetFocus, which will help us improve the ability of Cyclescape users to look at planning applications.

We're planning to run a user workshop in October, with a view to doing a fuller redesign of the site soon. We'd be interested to know if you'd like to attend.

PS All commnts submitted are anonymous - please be as honest as you can!

Latest new features – Summer 2017

Lots of new smaller features have gone live in recent months:

Thumbs up: You can now thumb-up (or 'like') a posting. It's a useful and quick way of showing approval to what someone else has written. You can hover your mouse over the thumb and see who has liked it. Thumbs-up is also installed on each issue - replacing the old voting system.

Hashtags to link posts together: You can link disparate messages from around the site together by using hashtags. This works in basically the same way to other sites like Facebook. Just prefix a word with a hash sign (#) and it will turn into a link to a page showing all the other messages containing that hashtag. This is specific to each group. So, for instance, members of Placeford Cycling Campaign could mark items that could go into their newsletter just by writing #newsletter in a post. There's also an index of all hashtags for each group.

Planning applications: Thanks to PlanIt, with whom we have been working, planning applications from some 78% of councils around the country are now coming through to Cyclescape, via your My Cyclescape page. This gives you easy access to development proposals in your areas, usually within a few days of them being posted on your council's website. If you know about an existing development, you can now paste its number into the search box to get to it quickly.

Revamp for setting locations you're interested in: We've completely reworked the way you specify what areas you're interested in. Now you can type in an area, e.g. your local council ward, and the system will come up with a set of suggested areas you might like to follow. This means you don't have to know how to read a map (and then draw on it) to set it - now you can search by name. We've got groups, constituencies and wards all loaded. You can also plan a cycle journey to get an A-B route you want to monitor, e.g. so that you get told about issues along your way to work that other people have reported. The new interface also show you how many issues the areas you've selected would match - so you know whether you'll get more than you can handle. We'll have a blog post about this soon, and will be making further improvements to it, as there are some rough edges still.

You can see the full list of changes (available via the 'What's new' link at the bottom of all pages of the site).

Now that we've got these in place, we'll be starting soon (subject to funding) on a long-awaited major revamp of the layout of the site, moving things around to make everything much clearer, as we know that new users are still confused by how to subscribe to things.

Polden-Puckham Charitable FoundationThis work has been possible kindly thanks to grant support from the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation. Thanks also to Nikolai and other contributors who have made these improvements possible.

Developer API

This is a techie blog post, for the information of developers. If you're an ordinary user, you'll probably want to skip this post!

Cyclescape now has a fledgling developer API is now available.

Basically, this enables data in Cyclescape (public information - no personal data is involved) to be used in external systems, making it more useful.

Currently available API calls, as described in the documentation, are:

  • Issues - what problems exist, and when were they reported?
  • Groups - cycling groups around the country and their geographical areas
  • Tags - what are the themes of problems that people are talking about?

Here are the first two integrations, by way of example:

London Cycling Campaign's consultation map

London Cycling Campaign are using this to create a map of current consultations in London, thanks to work by Camden Cyclists.

You can create a similar map using the code for the map, which is open source.


CycleStreets (who run Cyclescape) has been working on a new website, Bikedata.

The Bikedata site aims to provide cycle campaigners around the UK with a ‘one-stop shop’ for data that helps them in their work. You can read more about the Bikedata site.

We've used the API to pass through reported issues on Cyclescape to Bikedata.

We've also added a layer showing all groups.

API documentation

Documentation of the API is available at:

Geographical data is GeoJSON, making it easy to add to a Leaflet or other map.

Usage policy

We don't currently have an API usage policy, but for now, we would expect users to adhere to standard principles:

  • Avoid excessive volumes of requests to the server;
  • Limit the geographical size to only what is needed;
  • Ensure you give attribution;
  • Link back to the site, rather than copying material which will then go out of date.

Future developments

We expect that more API calls will be added in future. Let us know if you have any particular requests for the API.

Polden-Puckham Charitable FoundationThis work has been possible kindly thanks to grant support from the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation. Thanks also to Nikolai and other contributors who have made these improvements possible.

Latest new features – Spring 2017

Here are the improvements we've been working on lately, all live. We've been focussed on quick wins to make using the site easier - but we know there is still some way to go.

Unread postings now coloured differently: All around the site, unread postings are marked in blue in discussion threads you haven't yet read. This should make it much easier to keep track of things!

Front page - My Cyclescape: We've at long last cleaned up your My Cyclescape page, getting rid of pointless boxes and giving it a spring clean. Also, the limit of 12 messages before has gone - you can now click through to the next page of updates. So if you haven't been to the site for a while, you can be sure not to miss anything.

Layout improvements: To save you having to scroll back to the top of a page, we've set the top bar to stay in place all the time now. Also, there's a link in the bottom corner to the top of the page. Another little fix has been to make the list of subscribers to a discussion clearer - people are now listed in a sensible alphabetical order at last.

E-mail improvements: You can now unsubscribe from a discussion thread on a topic in one click - before this involved remembering to click the unsubscribe button. For digest users, the e-mails now include a link to the original of each individual message. Also, members of a committee getting committee-only e-mails will see this more clearly marked now.

Direct messaging: The top bar now has an 'envelope' icon, giving you access to direct messages. It'll show you how many unread messages there are, to help you avoid missing any.

Closing a thread: To help keep the site clean, you can close a thread using the button at the end of the discussion. This can now be done at any time - previously there was an arbitrary 2-day wait which we've now removed. People can re-open threads just by posting again, but by closing old threads, searches and other listings will work better.

Issues can now have more than one location: You can now report an issue that has a set of locations. For instance, supposing the council is consulting on making a set of one-way streets to way for cycling. Previously, this was hard to represent - it meant either drawing a large box or a convoluted area. Now you can draw a line for each street when creating the area. The same multiple area system also applies to groups and library items.

    Improvements for groups: There's now a group finder on the front page. It's now also possible to request to create a new group online. Also, committee members are now automatically subscribed to administrative discussion threads.

    Potential members list: The membership secretary of a group can now paste in their membership list (as a list of e-mails), so when a user signs up they are automatically added to the group if their email matches one in the potential members list. This system is fully privacy compliant, as we don't store the e-mails of potential members - just an alphanumeric code representation of each e-mail.

    You can see the full list of changes (available via the 'What's new' link at the bottom of all pages of the site).

    Polden-Puckham Charitable FoundationThis work has been possible kindly thanks to grant support from the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation. Thanks also to Nikolai and other contributors who have made these improvements possible.

    What’s the Cyclescape of your city like?

    We’re pleased to announce the name of our new cycle campaign group toolkit:


    We had over 70 suggestions (including some humorous ones), many of which were excellent ideas.

    It became clear that many of the best ideas started with Cycle, and we liked the idea that the name would be co-branded with CycleStreets, i.e. Cycle-s-something.

    We also thought it was particularly important to emphasise the geographical aspect of cycle campaigning. We thought that inventing a new word, Cyclescape would be a catchy and unique brand that emphasises the idea of improving the landscape for cycling across our towns and cities.

    Having fixed on a shortlist, we began the process of trying to obtain domain names. This took a surprising amount of work as we wanted to ensure we got all the variants (.com/.net/.org) by way of brand protection.

    Unlike three years ago when we bought the name CycleStreets, many Cycle+ names have now been taken and reserved by domain brokers. After approaching some domain holders, it was clear that some of the best names were going to be prohibitively expensive, in the thousands of pounds, which was well beyond an already-tight budget.

    In the end we spent more than we wanted to acquiring the name, but we’re very pleased with it. We hope you like the name too! is currently under development and we’ll be setting up a blog there shortly. @Cyclescape will also be the site’s Twitter identity, so do follow that also.

    Andy and Andrew, our developers, have been making excellent progress. Many of the core concepts of the site are in place, so we’ll have screenshots of  the system at ‘alpha’ phase in the next few days. If you’re a coder, follow the code work in progress on Github.

    Now we need a logo…

    Now we need a logo! We like the idea of a curved section of city, with markers on and a bicycle going upwards. Anyone able to help with that?

    Cycle campaign toolkit: introducing our developer team


    Progress on our cycle campaigner toolkit is steaming (pedalling?) ahead! Coding work began on Monday, and will continue solidly for the next few months.

    The development of the toolkit has been possible thanks to our GeoVation award, which secured us £27,000 of funding. GeoVation is an Ordnance Survey initiative and forms part of the Ideas in Transit project with funding from the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Transport.

    We're pleased to introduce our developer team, Andy Allan, Andrew France, plus myself (Martin Lucas-Smith) from CycleStreets as project manager. Andy and Andrew will be working in it on solidly for the next few months so that a large amount of development can be done.

    We're also approaching various designers and design companies for the work on the design and information architecture aspects of the project.

    Andy Allan is a freelance developer and cartographer, specialising in all things related to OpenStreetMap. He is the creator of, the award-winning map for cyclists used by hundreds of websites and mobile applications, along with his recently developed transport map. He has helped develop the technology that powers OpenStreetMap including the online editor, Potlatch2, and is a member of the OSMF Operations Working Group. Andy lives and works in London but prefers cycling elsewhere.

    Andrew France is an experienced web application developer specialising in Ruby on Rails. A generalist by nature, he is just as happy designing intuitive front-end interfaces and writing JavaScript as he is constructing database schema. Andrew has worked on a variety of systems from charity sites to hazardous chemicals management and always looks forward to implementing new ideas. He is a keen traveller, cyclist, runner, and imbiber of ale.

    Martin Lucas-Smith is one of the two lead developers of CycleStreets. He'll be project-managing the toolkit project and getting involved in the Rails coding in the latter half of the project. For CycleStreets, Martin tends to deal with non-routing code and structure of the CycleStreets codebase; he also deals with most of the CycleStreets project management so that fellow developer Simon can concentrate on the complex routing work. Martin's actual job is as a Web Developer at the Department of Geography , University of Cambridge.

    Get involved in an exciting open source project!

    The toolkit is to be developed as an open source project, with the code on Github. It will be written using the technologies of Ruby on Rails (v3.1), PostgreSQL, and jQuery.

    Volunteers are needed to contribute to the code from the end of October. If you'd be interested, do let us know.

    We're aiming to build a project team who will develop and look after the system from December onwards. By that stage, the grant-funded development work will mean that the system is already fully-featured and well coded so should be in a good state to add functionality to.


    We'll have:

    • Screenshots of our 'alpha' available by 21st October.
    • A beta available to a few campaign groups around Christmas. If your group would like to be a 'guinea-pig', do let us know! We'll start to open it up to more groups in the month following.
    • General availability of the site after a period of bugfixing, scaling and iteration.

    Stay tuned to this blog and our Twitter feed for updates.

    We're also seeking an additional grant of around £10k to enable us to undertake solid coding on some of the more advanced features that groups have suggested, particularly do deal with more complex issues like cross-group sharing, which will increase the utility of the system considerably.

    Designing the toolkit

    We held our first developer meetings this week to develop the specification further and do some wireframing: