4 improvements Google Maps should make for cyclists

Author: | Posted in Sports No comments

Google Maps has recently added a number of cycling features as more people have started riding bikes, e-bikes and electric scooters during the coronavirus pandemic. And as much as I appreciate some of these updates as I start exploring other cycling-oriented applications, Google Maps’ limitations have become more and more obvious.

Here are just a few changes that I think can make Google Maps far more attractive to cyclists.

Let me plan and save routes in advance

I understand that Google Maps is mostly aimed at commuters and people who occasionally go on an impromptu trip. It is intended to get you from point A to B as efficiently as possible, to the best of the app’s knowledge.

But sometimes I don’t just want to get somewhere as fast as possible. Sometimes I will take the scenic route. Sometimes I like to go up unnecessary hills to train. Other times, I want the opposite – to minimize sweating as much as possible.

Yes, there are other apps designed to do this – my favorite app is Komoot – and you can plan routes in Google Maps using roundabouts. But Google Maps is often the most convenient, and unfortunately the best thing you can really do with the mobile version of the Google Maps app is to add more stops and see your previous routes.

Allowing users to plan their route in advance would not only provide more flexibility but also help users feel more secure by being more confident in their route decisions. It also means you can easily save your favorite workout routes – and it’s not hard to see how Google could integrate such functionality with Google Fit.

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Even though I’m just trying to get from point A to point B, the best bike routes do not always follow car traffic patterns or use bike paths. In my own neighborhood, I know to avoid certain streets with sloppy bike paths. Sometimes I would much rather walk down a quiet, wide residential road without a bike lane than a busy road with an unprotected bike path that leaves me only a foot or two from angry motorists.

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