March 31, 2010

Boulder Bike News: Find your way using google maps.

Are you a Boulder biker? Here’s some great news: Boulder qualified as one of 150 US cities chosen by google to have a biking directions feature. Go to maps.google.com and select Get directions, then select Bicycling in the drop-down bar, type in your destination and you’re on your way. This feature just became available to us Boulderites in March, 2010 so be sure to take advantage!

Boulder has 360 miles of bike trails that have now all been mapped by GPS, using this awkward-looking GPS trike that made photographing narrow bike paths possible. (Did that guy ride it up Boulder Canyon?!) When you fill in the beginning and end points online, you get a few different route choices: the first typically via the Creek Path, away from roads and major thoroughfares, and the others alternate recommended street routes.

Google maps are amazingly helpful—you can access a location’s street views by dragging the little yellow man from the zoom bar to any spot on the map (you can zoom in on your house, the block you’re traveling to, whatever lies behind the neighbors’ fence). Having the biking feature adds to the convenience of online mapping, especially if you are still trying to figure out whether that fork in the path would get you to work faster or just lead you to a duck pond.

Plus, if you google map your route the night before and know exactly how long your commute is, you’ll be more inclined to bike to work the next morning. No more excuses: it might make me too late if I bike today… If you discover that it’s possible to get almost all the way to the store by trail rather than busy streets, you’ll be more apt to grab groceries by bike. It definitely makes you think twice about jumping in your carbon coughing vehicle when you could just as easily take the eco route on two wheels!

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