I have a Garmin GPS with a color screen on my bike and I don't see a way to download the routes to there yet. There are other sites that provide compatible maps to cyclists that can be loaded onto your on bike GPS unit. Although I have to say Google bringing maps to GPS units on everyone's bike would probably be a safety disaster.
Over the Locks as the safest route from Ballard to downtown? It's very subjective, of course, but between the weird and narrow Blade-Runner-esque trail that feeds onto the Myrtle-Edward (or is that the Myrtle-Edward itself up there by the school bus parking?), and dealing with Commodore and then Government/Gilman, I'll take Shilshole-Burke-Dexter anyday.

Plus blasting down Shilshole at 25 - 30 mph first thing in the morning wakes me up. And then I get to partake in the Great Commuter Race everyday over Dexter.
In San Diego I tried out my commute with the Google bike, not bad in terms of finding a routes through campus, but then getting to my neighborhood it kept trying to route me down big busy streets (big busy streets with decent bike lanes, but I prefer quiet residential streets. It also showed me a route I has never thought of. All in all pretty cool, still buggy, but neat.
@3 I don't know how the system could account for personal preference of riding on residential streets. Also in many city areas on a grid system if you want to take back roads its very easy to find your route anyway. This seems more for people who are looking for big streets with bike lanes so they can get where they are going quicker than riding on side streets.

If anything that is a lack of a feature, not a bug. It would be a nice feature though if you could somehow rate streets and intersections for how bike unfriendly they were and then give yourself some type of level of intensity of mixing with traffic that you are looking for.
Back here in Iowa, this feature doesn't seem to have been implemented yet. If I go to google maps and ask for a route from home to work, it completely ignores the pedestrian bridge between Omaha and Council Bluffs; instead it takes me along a route to the nearest non-interstate bridge, which is many, many miles out of the way.
I love it! (It picks all my favored routes anyway.) I hope this tool encourages more people to bike safely and have fun out there.
If I used Google bike's suggested route for my 25 mile commute from my place on the Far North Side of Chicago to the southwest suburbs where my girlfriend lives, I'd be dead. It takes you by the most direct route, and knows every twist and turn of the Lakefront Bike Path, but then it goes through some of the highest-crime areas of the city, and on some roads that are used by heavy industry and rutted with potholes. I'll stick with my own routes.
I would encourage everybody who bikes regularly to enter every route they take in it and see what it does. It's wrong a lot of the time, or suggests indirect or unsafe routes. Enter your routes and submit corrections when google makes errors.

Google's market dominance means that it is going to become the go to place for neophyte bikers to get directions, and let's make sure they don't get scared off biking or hurt when google suggests they bike down Aurora, or frustrated when it makes them take a 10 mile detour because it can't tell them to bike across a park.
@7 you should take those points and go to google with them, they have a link on the left side of the page that you can correspond with them, help with bugs, add suggestions and help make the web application work better. Its still in its infancy stage but I think Google Bike maps can only improve from here.
I agree that there will always be room for improvement when it comes to developing an online bike routing system. People should always use precaution when choosing a route, and double check to make sure they aren't being routed on a freeway (or Aurora). And unfortunately, a routing tool may never be robust enough to take into account everything that influences the desirability of a certain bike route (such as crime prevalence, pavement quality etc), however Google's 'by bike' service is a great start, and as they continue to solicit feedback from users, the routing tool will only continue to improve.

Their routes may not be perfect, but the Street View Trikes Google uses to photograph these routes are BAD ASS!!!
I plugged my commute in to google and yesterday, and while neither route was perfect, ridethecity was much better. I live on a hill, and google had the same route for both to and from work - the steepest possible one. Ridethecity figured out the detour that keeps me on the Burke Gilman longer and gives the the less steep side of the hill.
The Google bikes thing has a long way to go. From SE Seattle to NE Seattle, it doesn't seem to be able to find the I-90 bike tunnel or lid trail, and recommends I ride on Rainier ave... which needless to say is inadvisable.
@11 yeah, I think they have a gas generator running the electronics in that rear trunk. loooks fun to ride! Wonder if there is an electric assist for the hills? That would've been so much fun to design.
you can see elevation gains in terrain mode on google maps...
I've been using Google Maps walking directions to find bike routes, and that's worked pretty well for me.

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