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Winnipeg Trails Association, Google team up to fully map out the city’s bike trails

Approximately 400 km of bike trails will be mapped and photographed with the aid of a recumbent bike by Aug. 17

Cyclists in Winnipeg will soon enjoy the convenience of exploring local trails from every angle — and all before they even kick off for a day’s ride.

As the CBC reported this week, Google is partnering with the Winnipeg Trails Association to give local bike trails — all of them, in fact — the Streetview treatment, thanks to the use of a recumbent bike outfitted with a 360-degree camera. With the bike on loan from local shop Natural Cycle and the camera on loan from Google, the project, reportedly, will provide riders in the Manitoba city with a complete view of every local trail — even those, like Amber Trails, that have previously been off Google’s radar.

After taking the camera-equipped recumbent for a test ride earlier this week, Marina Herscovitch, a trails analyst with the Winnipeg Trails Association, told the CBC about the importance of giving riders a fuller, more complete view of the bike routes in their own back yard.

“They wanted to focus on the major bike trails in Winnipeg,” Herscovitch said, referring to Google, “but we thought it was best we get as much as we can. I suppose people don’t realize how big Winnipeg has become.” With the camera due back in Google’s hands by August 17, 200 kilometers of trail have already been mapped, with another 200, at press time, still to go. The maps are expected to be available next summer.

At present, a team of roughly a dozen volunteers are taking to the trails of Winnipeg to get the mapping finished by the 17th — riding for approximately 10 hours at a time.