Sustrans, a British charity promoting sustainable transport, just announced that it partnered with Google to bring cycling routes to United Kingdom-based Google Maps users.

Greener-minded Americans are quite familiar with the biking icon and its bevy of alternative transit routes, but now U.K. fans of the popular mapping app can plan their cycling trips, navigate bike lanes, and time routes on both smartphones and computers. For those unfamiliar, Google Maps offers worldwide mapping technology, directions and local business information to mobile and desktop users by way of satellite and street-level imagery and user-contributed content.

“We know how popular cycling is in London and the rest of the UK, especially ahead of a busy summer, which is why we are thrilled to bring cycling directions to Google Maps. Thanks to Sustrans, we now have thousands of miles of trails and routes, as well as bike lanes and recommended streets for cities across the country,” said Google UK Geospatial Technologist Ed Parsons.

“We’ll continue to add new trail information and urge commuters to swap their car for a bike as they can now find a convenient route that makes use of dedicated bike tracks and avoid hills whenever possible, Parsons added.

The new feature goes live today, and Sustrans is celebrating the launch with its own video, called “Lucy’s Cycling Treasure Hunt” (above).

The press release is below.

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  • Safe cycling routes to appear on Google for the first time
  • Issued on: Wednesday 11 July, 2012
  • Contact: Press Office 0117 927 7555; mobile 07802 986728; E-mail: press@sustrans.org.uk
  • Finding a safe route to ride your bike is set to be easier than ever as cycling routes are made available on UK Google Maps for the first time today at 5pm [Wednesday 11 July], following collaboration between charity Sustrans and Google.
  • In a ground-breaking move for cyclists and would-be cyclists, National Cycle Network routes across the UK can now be navigated online using a new bicycle symbol on Google Maps, alongside the options of driving, public transport and walking.
  • Cyclists can now plan their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate cycle-friendly routes that avoid big hills and customise the map for cycling on smart phones and computers.
  • The development follows news of the biggest ever increase in use of National Cycle Network – the nationwide system of off-road cycle paths and quiet streets for safe cycling – in 2011.
  • Sustrans is marking the occasion with the release of new video, ‘Lucy’s Cycling Treasure Hunt’, heralding the online mapping as a new beginning. View the video HERE.
  • Sustrans’ Chief Executive, Malcolm Shepherd said;
  • “Safety is the number one concern for people who want to ride their bikes and now it’s easier than ever to find the safest way to get from a to b on two wheels.
  • “Google has given cycling equal status to driving and using public transport – we need our politicians and local councils to do the same.”
  • Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google UK said:
  • “We know how popular cycling is in London and the rest of the UK, especially ahead of a busy summer, which is why we are thrilled to bring cycling directions to Google Maps.
  • “Thanks to Sustrans, we now have thousands of miles of trails and routes, as well as bike lanes and recommended streets for cities across the country.
  • “We’ll continue to add new trail information and urge commuters to swap their car for a bike as they can now find a convenient route that makes use of dedicated bike tracks and avoid hills whenever possible.”