Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 30th, 2010 at 8:07 am
Ride the City, an online bike route planner that first launched in New York City in 2008, announced this morning that their tool now works for Portland. Developers Vaidila Kungys and Jordan Anderson say their map is all about encouraging folks to ride. "Our goal is to provide bicyclists with one more option to help them to get out to ride their bikes, and to find safe routes."
Ride the City now covers the Portland region including Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Gresham, Milwaukie, and Vancouver, WA.
Speaking of Google, here's what Kungys says when folks ask them why they're still pushing ahead with Ride the City when the Google juggernaut also offers bike directions:
"I think it's a bit of a strange question, it's like asking Coffee People why they bother since Starbucks is everywhere or why anyone should choose Powell's when you can get the same books from Amazon: it's about providing more options to give users a choice. Ride the City offers a similar product--bike routing--with a different style that is more targeted to specific cities."
Ride the City offers users the ability to select a "direct," "safe," or "safer," route option. Their map also lists bike shops and bike rental locations and various data layers can be turned on or off depending on what you want to see. The turn-by-turn directions come with helpful icons that describe each trip segment as either being shared, on a bike path or on a bike lane, and there's even a traffic cone icon that warns, "caution" (which I saw when my test route took me on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). Making Ride the City an even more valuable tool is the ability to create a user account. This allows you to save preferences — such as telling it to always avoid a certain road — or to save specific routes.
Portland joins New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, and seven other cities on the list of locations now served by Ride the City. The developers welcome feedback on routes and there's even a "rate the route" feature where you can offer specific input.
Ride the City is also available as an app for iPhone. It's available in the iTunes App Store for $2.99 and offers turn-by-turn directions of all 12 cities, lists nearby bike shops, and more.
This is an excellent tool with a great look-and-feel that is much more bike-specific than Google. I highly recommend spending a few minutes poking around to see what it can do. Check out their FAQ page for more information and try out a route at RideTheCity.com/Portland.
— For background on online bike route planning, see this in-depth article by Elly Blue we published back in July 2009.