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)
Click 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.