I use Google maps before I go anywhere new. When cycling to a new locale I’ll use it to measure out routes and look for cycling friendly bike lanes and paths. Before my ride to Hamilton yesterday I was looking for an easy way around Hamilton Harbour. There are a ton of bike paths around Hamilton and they are all marked in green when you’re viewing the map with Google’s beta cycling directions turned on. When giving you directions between 2 points Google can however be a bit overzealous when it comes to getting you onto one of those bike routes, often adding a lot of distance to your ride to make it happen. Well, this time it offered a great short-cut, or at least a short cut, to get from the Wolfe Island Bridge to the bike path below through the Botanical Gardens. It only looks to be about an 80ft drop!
Well I skipped that section altogether, and rode Plains Rd W all the way into town, following a bike lane most of the way in, riding past Copps Coliseum, down Wilson and then more or less following the Around the Bay road race course. Next time I’ll follow the race course more closely. Their route takes Spring Garden Rd off of Plains Rd W to get down by the water.
Here’s the race map as posted on http://www.aroundthebayroadrace.com:
Gmaps is a great tool for route planning, but be sure to double check its suggestions. Their routes could add more distance than would make sense for your travels or, like some of your coworkers, Google could tell you to “go jump off a bridge”.