Google Maps is set to provide a new option for getting around town: biking directions.
And it will be Great news for bikers: the nerds at Google have added bicycling directions to Google Maps. It appears right alongside the other options, walking, car or public transit. It doesn’t work everywhere yet – I tried to find a way from my apartment to the local bike-polo court and Google Maps just told me it couldn’t calculate a route.
The company plans to unveil what it called “the most requested addition to Google Maps” during the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. Google Maps users looking for directions between two points will now have the option of selecting “bicycling” from the current drop-down menu that lets you customize a journey with walking, driving, or public transportation options.
Anyone who has ever tried to bike across San Francisco knows the value of a good bike map in helping to avoid 200-foot hills and city streets that behave more like freeways. Google Maps users have created their own bike maps for cities like New York and Minneapolis, but Google itself hadn’t taken that step until now.
The service is, of course, in beta, and Google is soliciting feedback on the suitability of roads for biking. You can of course still do it the old-fashioned (and somewhat quicker) way: use the walking directions, which ignore road-rules and one-way streets.