NEW Google street maps will show cyclists car-free routes after a campaign group did all the hard work for the search engine.

Oxford’s cycling group Cyclox designed two car-free walking and cycling routes around Oxford and then paid a 360degree photographer to capture it all on camera.

Now, for the first time, its possible to explore the routes in the virtual world before taking to the streets outside.

The idea behind the project was to encourage commuters, visitors and residents to swap their cars for the saddle.

The group's members say that cycling in Oxford around busy streets like Botley Road can be daunting, despite the city being hailed as one of the UK’s cycling capitals.

They say that people are often put off ditching their cars because of the busy streets, and ‘simply don’t know’ that there are quieter, safer and more attractive routes to cycle.

The first path is in East Oxford and runs behind Cowley Marsh from Bartlemas Close.

It winds round wooded paths and playing fields to Barracks Lane, leading to Hollow Way. It is already part of the National Cycle Route 57 and Local Cycle Network Route 4.

The second path is in West Oxford and follows a route over the Thames flood plain along Willow Walk.

It runs from the end of Ferry Hinksey Road to North Hinksey Road, which is part of the Local Cycle Network Route 8a.

The group has plans to submit more cycle paths to Google Street View, like well-known routes along Marston Meadows, University Parks and rural routes like Hinksey Lakes in South Oxford.

The group’s chairman, Dr Alison Hill, said: “Cyclox wants our city’s lesser-known, attractive, and quiet routes to be more discoverable, providing a greater opportunity for people to explore and enjoy Oxford.

“We hope it will encourage residents, commuters and visitors to take fewer journeys by car.”