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Google is offering a cycling option for users of its map service.

If you ask Google for directions in some US cities from today you can choose "bicycling" as an option, alongside "by car", "walking" or "by public transport".

The company said it had been the most requested feature since the map site launched.

The League of American Bicyclists welcomed the news and said: "The new feature includes: step-by-step bicycling directions; bike trails outlined directly on the map; and a new “Bicycling” layer that indicates bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly roads." Routes will also avoid the steepest hills where possible.

The site warns that the feature is in beta and users should use it with caution and report any routes which are unsuitable. Wise advice given the service's sometimes eccentric driving directions.

The service might come to the UK and Europe one day, although the ad giant's map service here still struggles with footpaths, byways, bridleways and other rights of ways.

Have a look yourself here.

But at least the announcement explains the mysterious Street View snoop-trike of Siena, Italy.

We can only assume the Street View trikes will soon be sneaking down the humblest bike paths and alleyways. Nowhere will be safe. Please send sightings and photographs to the usual address. ®

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