How to look at the streets and decide a trail

One of the most awesome things that has made deciding on a way to pick a bike track is Google Maps.  Google Maps say you, its bike routing is awful. Correct. Read on. I am not talking about Google bicycle routing (trail selection).

First up you need to open Google Maps and zoom into an area, I will use Salt Pan Creek as my example because it was my first Google explore on a bike. Now you have opened the map, turn on the bike paths using Bicycling (best if you do this on a PC). Notice in Figure 1 two areas where you can cycle (Use the same trick in the countryside here)

Figure 1. Open Google Maps and turn on Bicycling

Now I zoom into the map and look around, I like to hunt for signs of paths or bridges.  In the Riverwood area, look for Johnstone St.  See how it narrows to a small path as per figure 2.  Use this link to open Street View at the end of path

Figure 2 – zoom in

Now you want to startup Street view.  Drag the yellow man from the bottom of the map and drop him on the street nearest the path (as per Figure 3).  On a phone, you can press on the screen at the correct point to get the same view, bit fiddly but it works.

Figure 3: Drag the man

This now fires up the wonderful street view.  This works in many countries but in Australia, birthplace of Google Maps, almost every street has been mapped and still is being mapped.  Look at Figure 4, we have found ourselves a path.

Figure4: Street View lets you look at the path

The next problem I found was getting over the super busy Henry Lawson drive which has almost no crossings.  So here comes the school rule.  Look for schools and you will find bridges over the busy roads.  This one has a classic windy bridge that is the feature picture for this blog post.    Now you have paths and a bridge, make a route or go for a ride.  See in street view on map

OK.  If this makes no makes no sense, why not watch this You Tube video on using Street View. (no cycling content)

See the fully edited path from Riverwood Station to Oatley Park on the Sydney map here

Reference Stories:  Salt Pan Creek and the wonderful Oatley Park
Note *:  RideWithGPS has this facility in Route design in Map view.

See posts on the Sydney Cycling Map, Sydney Jigsaw and more mapping topics

2 responses to “How to look at the streets and decide a trail”

  1. Paul Gage Avatar
    Paul Gage

    Hi Garry, do you have any gpx files for Murwillimbah? You need a paid version of Strava to get from there.
    Paul Gage

    1. BikeTrail.Blog Avatar

      Look at the Information icon and you will see a book link. Each ride has a Strava link in the description.

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