If you’re planning a bike trip, your first stop should be Google Maps. There isn’t a better resource for finding a route.
I’ve been assembling a route starting in Barcelona, Spain, heading north to the Pyrenees, then east to the Provence region of France. If you’re like me, you want to know where you’re going to ride.First, you should check with someone who has already been there. I found an expert in every sense of the word – Bruce Hildenbrand. He has been to Europe for bike rides so many times, he lost count. He can tell you every detail about the Tour de France – where LeMond broke away in a specific race, where Lance got tangled with a spectator and fell off his bike, on and on.
Once I had an idea of where to go, I focused on the route. I like to ride point to point, so that means finding my way out of Barcelona. Big cities can be difficult, but Google Maps helps find the best route because you can “see” the road in “Street View” – how wide it is and the amount of traffic. Here’s a nice country road on the France side of the Pyrenees.
The way to do this in Google Maps is to click on the little orange figure in the upper left-hand corner. I call it Google Man (Google calls it Pegman); like Michelin Man only a different color. Drag the man from his position (or Google Gal if you like) and the roads that have been photographed will light up in dark blue.
You can also click on Satellite, Earth (Google Earth), and Terrain. Terrain is located in “More,” which has other neat features you can select.
Most roads have been photographed in many parts of the world. Google uses cars equipped with special cameras that capture everything. It’s amazing technology.
Next time I’ll tell you how to map your route and save it for future use. You can keep it to yourself or share it with others in My Maps.
Note: A powerful PC with a high-speed Internet connection will make your Google Maps experience more enjoyable.