Roadblocks for bike commuters: show me the route!

It’s Bike to Work Week. Did you notice? Perhaps not yet: most of the major events in the US are taking place this Friday (or Thursday for Californians).

Last year Adam posted some simple tips for newcomers to bike commuting. The central theme being, don’t take this too seriously and make it as easy as possible for yourself.

I’m a big fan of bikes, have all the gear I could possibly need (I’m especially proud of my 1970s PX-10 I found on Craigslist last year) and loathe the morning San Francisco Muni ride. I’m also not scared of the weather, in a former life I had a 40-minute each way bike commute in London — fog can’t hurt me! So why am I not biking now?

Honestly, I think it’s the hill. San Francisco is notorious for them, of course. But the one up 17th is especially menacing and just doesn’t seem an especially nice way to finish the day. I’m sure there must be a better route.

Of course, there are maps available with bike lanes and paths marked. Some even have gradients too. And I’ll consult these before I plan Thursday’s journey. But really, it’s time Google figured this one out, isn’t it?

Google Maps can show you the best route by car, by public transit, even if you’re walking. It shows you the street-level view from it’s cameras (even when they make a mess of taking the pictures). So why still no bike maps? This one innovation would make getting about in a city littered with hills and one-way streets so much easier. I think I’d actually pay for it.

Apparently I’m not alone. Over 47,000 people have so far signed the petition requesting a Google Maps “Bike There” feature. Will you join them? Click here to sign it.

What’s stopping you from getting on your bike? And can you overcome it for one day this week? Let us know in the comments below. Meanwhile if anybody has any tips on best routes from downtown SF to Cole Valley I’d love to hear them!

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pete