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Google launches UK Cycle Maps

Cycle directions on Google Maps

Cyclists can now get Google guidance without the risk of ending up on a motorway with an HGV bearing down at speed

Although cycle maps have been a feature of Google’s US mapping service for years, the UK has been sadly left out of safe route planning for cyclists. Instead, we’ve had to rely on our own intuition and innate common sense to avoid being sent along motorways.

Like every Google product, the cycle maps have started their life in beta, we were pleased to find that the tool seemed to have a preference for the same routes and cycle paths we choose for ourselves on our regular London commuter routes. However, we noticed that – when plotting a path from Barnet to Hertford – Google Maps favoured normal roads in places where it could instead have recommended a rather pleasant section of National Cycle Route 12, which we’ve explored in our previous adventures in technologically assisted cycling. Hopefully National Cycle Network routes will be added in the near future.

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There are a number of other cycle route planners available, of which CycleStreets is probably the most popular. It knows about the national cycle routes and used part of them when we asked it to plot the same journey. However, we’ve previously found CycleStreets for Android to be more of a drain on our mobile phone’s battery than Google Maps, which alone is enough to make us rather keen on the prospect of going cycling with Google.

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