Originally launched in beta mode for a number of European countries last year, Google Maps has enabled biking directions for Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. By working with partner organizations, as well as adding hundreds of kilometers of bike paths via Google Map Maker, Google Maps offers European cyclist a number of biking trails, lanes and recommended roads.
A simple search for directions in Google Maps provides users with suitable bike routes along with time estimates that account for the type of road, terrain and course turns. Users can also switch over to Navigation from their Android device and listen to guided directions from their earplugs while on their bike.
Google’s Europe blog recommends cyclist try suggested paths, like the historical stage of the Tour de France, a 206-kilometer path from Biarritz to Bordeaux that Google claims is, “…often car-free kilometers close to the Atlantic Ocean, compared to the rather boring 206 kilometers on the N10/A63 which is suggested for cars.”
By clicking on the widget at the top right of the screen, users can turn on the “Bicycling” layer in Google Maps to select trails, dedicated lanes or bicycle friendly roads. Cyclist can also suggest new trails using the “Report a problem” link at the bottom of the maps screen or add new routes to Google Maps using Google Map Maker.