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Google’s Bicycle Trail Maps

Google’s Bicycle Trail Maps

Whoah!  I just discovered the neatest thing!  Google has recently begun to show bicycle trails on their Google Maps.  This is a wonderful new feature that I’ll be using constantly in the future.

I use Google Maps all the time while I’m planning my bicycle trips.  I hate cycling on roads with heavy traffic so I use Google to find alternate routes on quieter streets through neighborhoods to get wherever I want to go.  I have such an aversion to traffic that I’ll happily increase my riding distance to avoid it.  I adamantly believe that bicycle riding should be FUN and for me it usually is… unless I’m having to watch out for cars whizzing by me.  I just can’t relax and enjoy the ride on busy streets so I don’t use them unless I have to.

Google Maps have proven extremely useful in my traffic avoidance quest.  Not only do I use Google to find quiet neighborhood routes but in Google’s satellite view I often discover little neighborhood cut-through sidewalks, parks, and alleyways.  Such an adventure!  Google street view is helpful as well and I use it to determine traffic density and to see if a road has a good shoulder to cycle on.  Using Google Maps for my bicycle route planning is one of my favorite activities.

Click on the bicycle button.

Click on the bicycle button.

So here’s how to get to the bicycle trails on Google.  Open up Google Maps and click on “Get Directions” at the top left.  Depending upon your location, you’ll see four buttons: cars, public transportation, walking and bicycling.  Click on the bicycle button and all of the bicycle trails in the area should show up as dark green lines in map view and bright green lines in satellite view.  Here’s what the bicycle trail map looks like in St. Louis:

GoogleBikeTrailMap

Look at all those bright green lines!  SO EXCITING!!!  The maps (at least in my area) appear to be quite comprehensive.  All of the trails that I’m already aware of are depicted, as well as a bunch of trails I didn’t know about.  I can’t wait to start exploring.  I’ve tested out a few other cities and it looks like Google has mapped out bicycle trails all over the U.S.  GO GOOGLE!

Head on over to Google Maps and try it yourself.  Maybe you’ll discover some trails in your area that you didn’t know about.  Get on your bike and RIDE!

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