Google Maps Adds Elevation Profiles To Bike Routes To Help You Avoid Those Steep Hills

Originally Posted on TechCrunch


From the article:

Google Maps now features elevation profiles for bike routes.

Google added biking directions to Google Maps and specialized maps that highlight bike routes a few years ago. If you are weak like me, though, and learned to bike in Holland, where the biggest obstacle is a dike, you don’t just want to know what streets to take, but also what hills you will have to huff your way up on the way to your destination.

Until now, Google was no help there and you needed to go to third-party sites that mashed up elevation data with Google Maps routes. Now, however, Google has quietly added this feature to Google Maps directly.

We asked Google about this and the company confirmed that this is indeed a new — and as of now unannounced — feature.

Just look for a route on Google Maps, choose the biking directions and look for the new elevation profile. Besides the graphical representation of those hills you will have to climb, the new card also shows you the total number of feet you will have to climb on your route (and those joyous miles you get to just kick back and try not to die while you barrel down the hill on the other side).

The only time you won’t see the new elevation profiles, it seems, is for routes that are essentially flat.

For now, these profiles sadly don’t appear in any of Google’s mobile apps for Google Maps, but chances are the company will add it to those apps in the long run, too.

Mythbusting the Elevation on Bike Tours

Gene Bisbee has this to say to do myth-busting comparing the elevation of the RAGBRAI and Ride the Rockies bike tours, take a look at the article to see hardest day comparisons along with average days and enough stats to make everyone happy.

From his article:

In terms of elevation gain — which should really be the yardstick for comparing a flat ride and a mountainous ride — there’s not much difference between the two.

The total elevation gain for the 2011 Ride the Rockies bike route announced on Sunday is 21,604 feet. I was amazed by that total, until I went back to check the RAGBRAI route and discovered that cyclists in “flat” Iowa would climb 21,206 feet.

It was news to me that RAGBRAI rivaled Ride the Rockies in difficulty, so I hunted around the Internet until I found the expert on RAGBRAI trivia. That’s Rich Ketcham, a software consultant who has been crunching all the RAGBRAI numbers and has them all online at