Europe-based cycling enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that Google Maps has announced more biking directions for several countries there – as well as new data for a number of European countries it hadn’t previously covered – giving fans of two-wheeled transportation a better chance of enjoying a more peaceful, more scenic, and safer ride.
Countries with new or improved data include Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.
Cyclists in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK have been able to make use of biking routes and directions using Google Maps since last year. First rolled out in the US and Canada in 2010, the feature has proved so popular that Google has been working hard to expand its offering.
“Like in other countries, we’ve added information about bike trails, lanes and recommended roads directly to the map,” Google product manager Kai Hansen said in a blog post. “In some countries we’ve worked with partner organizations. In others users have added hundreds of kilometers of biking paths through Google Map Maker.”
Maps’ biking routes feature is designed to give the cyclist directions which avoid busy streets and, where possible, utilize bike lanes. Scenic routes are also prioritized so you can hopefully enjoy a pleasant view while you work up a sweat.
Time estimates for the route are carefully calculated, Hansen said, taking into account the terrain, the road surface and how many turns need to be made along the way.
The more ambitious cyclists among you may want to consider taking on a section of the famous Tour de France cycle race, with Google providing turn-by-turn directions for the classic stage from Biarritz to Bordeaux. The scenic route takes you along 206 “beautiful, 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,” Hansen said.
To pull up biking directions, simply go to Google Maps, hit the Get directions button and then select the icon showing a cyclist.