While bike trails have often been included on automobile road maps, the maps usually don't include a lot of details bikers are looking for.  And that's really a product of the fact that they weren't designed specifically for bicyclists.

While it's true that printed bicycle trail maps have been made available in the past, they're usually not kept as current as automobile maps and they often lack the essential details that bicyclists are looking for.

That's changing, at least in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has unveiled an online interactive mapping feature that they're calling Minnesota Bikeways.  It's based off the printed map that MNDOT puts out every two years, but it goes so far beyond the details provided there that it's really an entirely different resource.

In addition to the usual sort of details you would expect on a printed bicycle trail map, MNDOT's new Minnesota Bikeways application allows the user to drill down into a wealth of available data.  So while you'll get the usual sort of details like mileage and place markers, the Minnesota Bikeways application map also includes important stuff like annual average daily traffic numbers, how wide the path or road shoulder is, and what type of riding surface it's comprised of.  Those "above and beyond" resource details combine to make for a better riding experience for the bicyclist.

There are also tools available on the Minnesota Bikeways application map that allow you to add filters to help find or build a route (i.e. you can sort by trail type to build a route that's acceptable to your needs).  You can also measure a planned route and even print or export a route you've built.

Minnesota Bikeways isn't an app. There's no need to download anything to your computer or phone in order to use it.  Just go directly to the webpage that's located on the Minnesota Department of Transportation website in order to get started.  (A tip:  You may want to "bookmark" the page so that you'll be able to find it easier and faster in the future)

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