In early 2010, Google
responded to our requests to add bicycling routes to their
map service. Below is
an example of how it works. This example is for somebody wanting to
bicycle from Brisas del Mar Inn to the Natural Cafe in Santa Barbara.
Just substitute your own bike ride origin and destination.
Go to http://maps.google.com
Click on "Get
Directions" (a new box will open up)
Click on the bicycle
logo (it will turn blue)
Enter your start
location at "A" (for exmple, 223 Castillo Street for Brisas del Mar Inn)
Enter your destination
location at "B" (for example, 508 State Street for the Natural Cafe)
on "Get Directions"
What you get is a step-by-step list of turns and
distances to bike to your destination, plus a map of your trip. The results
of our example are below. While it's good to see that Google suggests
only right turns, so you don't have to merge over a lane of traffic to
turn left, what it misses is what local cyclists know—you
can cut through the Amtrak parking lot with no trouble (following the green
line on the map), then turn left onto State Street at a traffic signal.
Overall, Google does a good job. It's not perfect, but they ask us to help
make it better by clicking on the "Report a problem" button
on the lower right of their map.