In which Google Maps tries to kill me.

I used Google Maps a lot when I was in Houston, to map routes for getting around by bike. There, it served me really well – hey, I got through the summer alive, right? There aren’t a lot of bike lanes are shared road space, but the mapping algorithm was really good about taking me on low-traffic streets in an effort to keep me from being mowed down by cars.

I’m going to have to be a lot more careful about it in Denver. The problem is that there are many, many more bike trails in Denver than there are in Houston. But unlike Houston, the majority of trails that are marked for bikes in Denver are gravel trails. I really don’t feel good about riding on them. Maybe if I had a mountain bike, but with road tires it’s too easy to fishtail and just lose it.

I got a reminder of that today when I was trying to ride up to Longmont. The maps sent me on to a set of trails through an open space. I rode a little ways in, almost lost it in the gravel, and then decided to walk the rest of the way through to the street since it didn’t seem that far.

Which it wasn’t, except for the part where I got really, really lost and spent about twenty minutes walking in aimless circles.

The street was another problem entirely. It was a dirt track with gravel. And while I was trying to decide how much further to talk, a cloud of the biggest mosquitoes I’d ever seen descended on me. In broad daylight. It was like Hitchcock had done a movie called The Mosquitoes just right there.

You think it’s funny? Next time try to run while pulling along a bike through mud while slapping evil mutant insects who have lost their proper fear of the day star.

If I die of West Nile, let it be known that Google Maps killed me. Next time Google Maps, please try to bump me off in a more traditional way, like driving me off a cliff. I’ll be happy as long as nothing’s biting me.

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