Monday, September 27, 2010

Google Bike Maps

Price: Free


There was a lot of talk about Google Bike Maps when they first became an option. Some good, some not so good. Leaving Chicago to go north has always be a pain in my ass. The roads up there in the suburbs don’t make sense, then there are bike trails that start, stop, go through parking lots, etc., and it’s just a damn mess. So I decided I would let Google maps do the work for me.

I put in our destination in Manitowoc, WI, and press enter. The route came back and looked good. I made a few changes for the start because I didn’t like one of the roads, but other than that, our route was all Google.

Now comes the fun part... Ok- so I had the route on Google, but I need to get it to my gps. I knew you could use Bikely to export .gpx format, so the challenge was getting Google maps to Bikley. So a few hours of frustration and I find this link:

I pretty much did what the link said, and sure enough- it worked. I uploaded the routes to our gps units and we were good to go. The route was awesome! I thought sure it added more than a few miles to our trip, but we are talking very, very, little traffic. I also felt we got see more of the cities- like we knew the secrets or something. T

There was, however, the 30 miles of limestone... that kinda sucked (yet tasty! -ed.), but that whole 'what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger' thing might apply here. The one other thing we noticed was that Google maps doesn’t take in consideration how safe the neighborhood it routes you through is. So let's say you are riding to Detroit- you might want to check that route out.

Overall, I totally dug it and it made for a great first half of our tour.