Biking around town is a great way to cut pollution while getting a little exercise, especially now that springtime weather is upon us. So tune up your bike, buckle your helmet, and find a bike-friendly route with the new “Bicycling” option from Google Maps.
This isn’t “one-size-fits-all” mapping that you’d use for a car trip. Instead, it focuses on the most appropriate bicycle route from point “A” to point “B”. For example, it can help you find quiet side streets that are more rideable than main thoroughfares, and steer you clear of brutal hills. And it will help you skip roads altogether if there are dedicated bike paths in your area.
I tested it recently for a trip through the beach towns of LA’s Westside. Sure enough it mapped out a very sensible riding route, bypassing some especially congested intersections and using a bikes-only boardwalk for part of the trip.
There’s a helpful tutorial video on the Google Maps website for new users. There is also a “Biking Directions” gadget available that businesses can place on their websites, to help encourage ride-by customers. The system is still in its Beta version, so Google is collecting user feedback to streamline the system – but it’s a great way to make bicycle commuting more practical wherever you live.