Yesterday Google added directions for cyclists, but only for U.S. cities. What about us folks in Toronto? Well, we've got Ride the City Toronto. RTC is a collaboration of two planners in New York, Vaidila Kungys and Jordan Anderson, who've been diligently adding over the last couple years city-specific cycling data to their mapping tool so cyclists can map the best route. The latest city to make the map is Toronto.
Google and RTC are going about it in similar ways; both need to get cycling-specific GIS information about bike lanes, trails and signed routes. They then combine that data into their database and create an algorithm that weights the different factors. When you media's interest in Google's launchmap a route you have the option of choosing a "safe", "safer" and "direct" route.
Because of the media's interest in Google's launch and finding out that it was coming to Toronto any time soon, it made sense to make public the previously beta version of RTC Toronto. You may find that there are still some tweaks to be made to the bike routes, so RTC encourages you to sign up as a user and rate the routes.