Google Maps for cyclists

Virtually everyone is aware of Google Maps. It is, in virtually all cases, the software that will be used with a GPS system. And, since the vast majority of phones come with built-in GPS systems these days, the chances are good that Google Maps has been used to get you from A to B. However, for a long time Google Maps was only compatible with roads. Which is to say, the directions given would be on known roadways, without any deviations from these roads.

Anyone in a car will be grateful for this, given that cars don’t do very well when leaving roads. It’s almost a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Those on bicycles, on the other hand, are okay with a deviation from tar roads, and will likely even prefer being off the roads, and on the bicycle paths.

The good news is that Google has spent years gathering information about bicycle-friendly routes, and Google Maps now has a function specifically for those riding a bicycle. Meaning that Google Maps is now an option for anyone on 4 wheels, 2 wheels and on foot.

How To Get Bicycle Routes In Google Maps

Google Maps is a fairly user-friendly programme, but it never hurts to get a bit of a helping hand. Here is how you can select a bicycle friendly route for your next journey, using Google Maps.

  1. Open Google Maps and select your starting location. This can be done manually, by tapping the location, or it can be done automatically, by having your GPS system turned on. If GPS is turned on, your starting location will be set automatically. If entering a starting location manually, select the ‘directions from here’ option.
  2. You will now have to tell Google Maps where you’re going. You can do so by tapping the location on the map, and selecting the ‘directions to here’ option, or by entering a location into the search option.
  3. Upon directions being given icons will appear at the top of the screen. Simply select the option for cycling, and Google Maps will automatically adjust the path taken to accommodate cyclists.
  4. Take note of the route that Google Maps has created. There may be suggestions in the route that can potentially save time. These alternate routes are normally not included, but can be selected if the user desires. Simply tap on the alternate routes in order to use them. It is also possible to alter the route manually, as preferred, even if Google Maps doesn’t suggest it.
  5. It is possible to use Google Maps directly on a mobile device, as described above, or on a laptop or computer, and have the route sent to a mobile device. The ‘send directions to your phone’ option allows a route to be chosen on a computer, and the directions to be transferred instantly to a mobile device. Just like playing Roulette and other games online, the access options are extensive, and there is something to suit all users.

Specialised Map Services

Some aren’t even aware, but Google Maps actually has entirely different map systems, specifically for those riding bicycles. These maps, unlike standard Google maps, show options not otherwise visible. By selecting these separate maps, those on bicycles have a much better idea of how to get around an area, without having to stick to roads. These maps also highlight bicycle lanes, bicycle paths, and train tracks. Here’s how to view these bicycle-focused maps.

  1. Open Google Maps as per normal, and locate the menu button. The menu button, on mobile devices, and on computers, is found to the left of the menu button, represented by three lines.
  2. In the menu, simply select ‘bicycling.’ Note that this option can be switched back and forth, as desired.
  3. With the bicycling option turned on, the maps will now be geared towards helping cyclists get around as quickly and easily as possible.

Always Fastest

Always keep in mind, however, that Google Maps is designed to give the fastest route, and not necessarily the best route when going from A to B. It’s best to adjust suggested routes, as is desired, in order to get the most out of the service.

It’s clear that by expanding its service, Google is looking for ways to accommodate everyone, and that the future of navigation doesn’t only depend on roadways meant for cars. What comes next is anyone’s guess, but with self-driving cars and other transport advancements we’re sure to see even more navigational options crop up in time.


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