Are You Map Case Deprived?

February 24, 2014

With all the hig-tech gadgets we have on the dashboards of our rides, the map case is just too simple. It's not LED or GPS, nor can you make a phone call with it. It's not even made of carbon fiber. So on that upcoming tour of yours, is a map case really necessary?

Well, let me tell you a real life experience that my wife and I had on a tour last fall. I must first tell you that working in the Cyclosource store, I ship out hundreds of map cases every season. When preparing for this trip I checked everything on my list that would be needed. The map case crossed my mind, maybe twice, but it seemed unnecessary.

The first day of our tour, we met with our Adventure Cycling guide and the group we'd be riding with for the next week. Our tour leader handed out a copy of the route, both map and cue sheets for each day's ride. At the meeting, the map and cue sheets seemed great and were very detailed pieces of paper. The next morning we started out as a group. There was no problem staying on course. We just followed the group. As the day rolled along, everyone began to ride at their own pace and so we were on our own for the next junction of the route. No worries, I had my map and directions in one of my pockets — or were they in the pannier? We stopped safely on the side of the road to find our directions. We took the correct turn needed and carried on to the next junction. Yes, we made another stop, got the map out and moved on again. Many times, even after looking at the map just moments before, I would I ask my wife, "did that say take a left or right after the 23-mile marker?" Day One this got old. Day Two, all the way until the very end of our tour, it got really old. I kept thinking of that map case, the unnecessary extra.

After the third day, my wife had to ask the question: "Doesn't Cyclosource sell a map case?"

"Yes," I said quietly.

Well, we survived without, but not without lots of stops and the occasional risky reading-while-riding technique.

(The actions in scene above are NOT advised!)

My advice to you is to have and use a map case. If you have a handle bar bag, most manufacturers have such a case built-in on top for safely viewing your map or directions while on the go. Adventure Cycling has their own map case that has been available for years. When the map is folded to the panel or section that you're riding that day, the case accommodates it perfectly! The Adventure Cycling map case is made up of two clear plastic windows with a velcro closure to keep out water and dirt. There are two velcro tabs to attach the case to your handlebar bag, handlebar, or even cables. It's very versatile and designed to easily flip sides for viewing maps on one side and cue notes on the other. Cyclosource just received a new batch of map cases and we've already begun sending them out with most map orders. If you have to know, yes, I now have my own map case ready for the next tour. Wouldn't leave home without it!

Top photo by Bridget McMillion | Bottom photo by Rachel Stevens

CYCLO NOTES is brought to you every Monday morning by Adventure Cycling's Cyclosource team — Teri, Patrick, and Geoff.


Thomas Camero March 3, 2014, 11:56 AM

The ACA map case is a welcome addition to my handlebar set-up. It is placed on top of the handlebar bag map case and creates 4 panels for other maps (profiles) and music. While on long rides I sing and learn songs, and can know where I'm going by just flipping the panels. My gps sits alongside.

Steve lindley February 25, 2014, 11:15 AM

I made my own map case which houses my maps as well as my i-pad. The GPS on i - pad is invaluable.

Don February 24, 2014, 11:38 PM

I take my GPS and detailed maps for the back country. I have lost satellite signals in remote locals; it all depends on where you are going.

Cory February 24, 2014, 6:53 PM

Looking for an alternative handlebar set up to drops. Anyone have any information on the above picture? (the close up/winter photo) Thanks

Patrick Finley February 25, 2014, 12:43 PM

Tom February 24, 2014, 2:38 PM

Even with a Garmin I would not head out without paper maps. Always concerned that if something happened to the GPS, like it got lost ,stolen, or no charge available we still have the maps to fall back on. Plus we like to see the "Big" picture.

Paul Guba February 24, 2014, 12:07 PM

Funny I was just cleaning and came across mine. I remember thinking it is kinda spendy for a clear plastic bag. Truth is I spent more time looking at it than anything else. A pretty essential piece of gear even in this age of GPS equipped smart phones which don't always work in remote locales.

Jace February 24, 2014, 9:38 AM

I'm sorry but I think map cases are becoming obsolete. Using a GPS to navigate is far better. Having a real map as an overview to see where you will be going and where you went is great. It's also great to have a real map as a backup, but navigating with one in a map case is soon to be made a thing of the past. I've done both and now that I've moved to GPS, I won't be going back.

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