Design based on iconic London Underground map, but also draws inspiration from Innertube map of Edinburgh

Cyclists living or working in Birmingham, or those visiting Britain's second-biggest city, now have an easy way of finding their way around on traffic-free routes with the official launch of the Top Tube Map, which shows the connections between 21 separate routes on a mixture of surfaced and unsurfaced paths, canal towpath, and short on road sections that sometimes link different routes.

It's clear that the design owes much to the iconic London Underground map devised by Harry Beck back in 1931, but Nick, the map's creator, also acknowledges as an inspiration the more recent Innertube map of Edinburgh launched last year by the Bike Station, and adds that it was compiled with the help of feedback from members of BirminghamCyclist.com.

Sources used in compilng the Top Tube map, which has been a year in the planning, include Birmingham City Council and its own Walking and Cycling Map, as well as information from Sustrans and British Waterways.

The map, downloadable from the Top Tube Map website where you can also find more information about the project, was produced with the financial help of two local enterprises.

One is Bournville Village Trust, originally founded by George Cadbury in 1900 to provide model housing for workers at his family's chocolate factory and now a housing association responsible for some 8,000 properties in Brimingham and beyond, while the other is steel tubing maker Reynolds, originally founded in the city as a nailmaker in 1841, and still headquartered there today.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.