Google Bike Routes — Almost Here?

ride_the_city.jpgNew Yorkers can use Ride the City to plan bike trips. Cyclists in most other American cities don’t have the option.

The folks at Google Maps "Bike There"
— the blog dedicated to getting the world’s foremost information
cruncher to include bike directions in its trip planning tools — noticed an encouraging development yesterday. On Google’s LatLong blog, embedded in a post about a new layer of base data in Google Maps, we now have a pretty direct acknowledgment straight from the source: Bike directions are coming.

College students will be pleased to see maps of many campuses; and cyclists will now find many more trails and paths to explore. Soon we even plan on providing you with biking directions to take advantage of this new data.

The technical hurdles to creating online bike route planners are substantial. Right now, cyclists in only a handful of cities can take advantage of such tools. Bay Area bicyclists have 511.org, New Yorkers have Ride the City, as do residents of Chicago, Austin, Louisville, and San Diego. If you’re in Portland, Oregon or Milwaukee, you can use Bycycle.org.
As far as I know, that’s about all we’ve got in the USA. Think there’s
an appetite for more? Peter Smith, the man behind the "Bike There"
campaign, has collected 50,000 signatures asking Google to add bike
trip tools. You can sign on here, just in case.

  • Yay, Peter Smith!

  • TIMTOWTDI
  • Boulder, CO also has an online route planning tool for cyclists.

    The Google project has been kind of an open secret among technonerd South Bay cyclists for some time — it’s been in internal beta testing at Google in MV for a few months now.

  • Erik

    Hopefully they include topography. That’s probably the biggest route planning factor in SF.

  • wheelchairgirl

    And here I was hoping for a modification for pedestrian directions that would let me know if there were wheelchair ramps on the route. There’s a plugin I need.

    Of course, the South Bay barely even *has* sidewalks, much less ramps.

  • I’m not wasting time waiting on Google deciding to map the place. Instead I’m going out and mapping the world myself and with the help of some of other people who are using that data in a cycle planner that uses that data.

    Take a look at http://maps.cloudmade.com/ (worldwide) and http://www.cyclestreets.net/ (UK only)