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New elevation levels for Google Maps helps riders choose a longer, flatter route or a short sharp hilly one

If you like cycling the flat route to work, or conversely want a few challenging hills on your Sunday morning ride, the new Google Maps update for cyclists could be just what you’re looking for.

Alongside a route, an estimated journey time and step by step directions, the smartphone app now displays elevation levels, along with the time it should take to detour to that route.

There is also a Siri-style voice input tool, allowing you to ask the app questions, like ‘how far to the next turn’ or ‘navigate to an alternate address’ - making using your phone while riding a whole lot easier.

The update, which is currently only to the Android version of Google Maps, is not in Google Play yet but Android users can download the APK here. [The usual disclaimers apply to those who choose to download.]

There is no indication yet of when the update may roll out to iOS users.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.