Day 66: Google’s bike maps

10 03 2010

As more people are commuting to work and running errands on their bikes, several map websites are now including bike directions on their sites (I mentioned Ride the City in a previous post). Google’s maps now include a feature for bike routes (for 150 cities) when you’re searching for directions. Visit http://maps.google.com/biking or use the “bike” selection from the dropdown menu on the main directions page. According to a description on Lifehacker today, “Google looks for roads with designated bike lanes, tries to avoid areas with lots of hill climbs and drops, and, when possible, whenever a road has been designated by a city or cycle group as bike-friendly.” NPR’s “Morning Edition”, CNN, MSNBC and others also covered the story today. 

I tested the feature by searching for a good route to/from work. The map provided me with 3 routes. Placing my mouse over one of the alternate routes allowed me to preview that route. 

Google bike map

Google bike map

 

The map also gives a complete turn-by-turn cue sheet with estimated mileage and time. Selecting the “print” option gave me cue sheet showing left or right arrows (in addition to text descriptions) which looks like it will make it easier to read when on an actual ride. 

Google bike map

Google bike map - print version cue sheet

 

I plan to drive the work-to-home route to see what traffic and hills look like. Parts of the route would probably not be areas where I would actually ride since some of the streets have very heavy traffic (especially during rush hour), but it’s nice to be able to quickly see various routes and options for a ride. 

Apparently, cyclists are able to submit their own routes or corrections to existing routes. Google includes a highlighted box under the address box that reads, “Bicycling directions are in beta. Use caution and please report unmapped bike routes, streets that aren’t suited for cycling, and other problems here.” 

Pretty cool stuff. Definitely worth checking out. 

Today’s starting weight: 149 

Food journal: 

Breakfast:
— Chocolate, peanut butter, banana smoothie = 385 cal. 

Lunch:
— Jimmy John’s slim turkey sandwich = 401
— BBQ chips = 160
— Iced tea = 10 

Dinner:
— Salad with ranch dressing = 163
— 1 soft pretzel = 483
— Iced tea = 0 

Snack:
— Fat free chocolate pudding cup = 60 

Thanks for visiting. See you tomorrow.

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