Will Google to add a ‘Bike There’ option to Google Maps

Here’s a great idea – add an option to Google Maps to show bike paths and directions in the same place you’d get driving or public transit directions. It ain’t so yet, but it could be if this petition can catch the attention of Google’s map teams. There are tons of online city bike maps, some already mashed up into Google’s maps like this New York City map. Seeing how nicely it plays puts other city bike maps to shame (Portland, Seattle – warning: Big downloads). Having bike routes available in online mapping apps would be a great step forward for many cities, and a big encouragement for those who might just go by bike with a bit more information.

I recently spent some time trying to figure how to bus down to a city a few miles away and then bike back home. The bus part was easy, but figuring out the best bike route back was a nightmare. I used Seattle’s .pdf based bike maps, but it was pretty hard to see the whole route on a single screen let alone create a cue sheet based on it. My best bet would have been to print it out, lay down several sheets side by side on the floor and mark it off by hand. Sites like Bikely and Routeslip are helpful, if somebody’s taken the time to do it right.

Of course the biggest challenge in providing bike maps for a city like Seattle is that not all bike lanes, sharrow’d streets, or other biking infrastructure links to eachother. The Bike Master Plan will help when it’s implemented, but I don’t know how Google would get around recommending a complete bike route to a location without including ‘get off and walk…’ for some portions of the ride.



Urban Ride Flyer

Sign up for the SXSW Urban Ride on Upcoming. Here’s a PDF version of the flyer, like if you wanted to plaster it all over your garage or maybe make a nice hat.

from the Bike Hugger Photostream.



Aeolian Ride

I’ve read the Aeloian Ride website a few times now, trying to grok it, after getting a tip from Zannestars and think they’re def onto something; especially, if the inflatable suit is combined with Aero corduroys (no, I don’t make this stuff up)!

Inspired by a love for bikes, city cruising, critical mass, costumes, sillyness + things that inflate, i decided to make a free, mass participatory event with a sense of humor. It excites those riding as well as delights those watching, all the while transforming the landscape into a playground of windfilled shapes.

That looks like lots of fun and I pinged them to see if they can make it to SXSW.

AEOLIAN_BK_48.jpg



BBQ @ SXSW Schwag & Giveaways

The best part of our BBQ @ SXSW is all the schwag and giveaways. We’ve got



Seattle Messengers: Urban Buffalo?

Chained.jpg The P. I. proclaims the immanent demise of bike messengers in today’s issue. It’s true I’m sure that the number of messengers are down, but I doubt Messengers are the urban buffalo of the late part of the first decade of this millennium. The reports of messenger death are greatly exaggerated from what I can tell – check the following: Transportation Alternatives from 1996 (The industry is too squeezed to pay messengers in NYC); The Economist from a decade later; the Sydney Morning Herald and BCBusiness from just last year. Meanwhile, if you like your media closer to home, check out Pilder’s blog, of one of the messengers in the PI article.

Messengers gone? Could be, doesn’t seem like it’ll be right away to me. I’d be very sad to see the days of paid-to-ride fall by the side of the road, but that doesn’t seem like what’s happening either. I imagine we’ll actually see more pedal-powered traffic on the roads as oil prices top $100/gal. Maybe not so much for moving documents though – here’s a local pizza joint who delivers by bike (on Cetma racks no less).

It’d be a big blow to lose this very physical culture from our city, and digital documentation does seem like it’s making a dent. Messengering is the quit-my-job fantasy for more than a few of the very folks enabling these digital docs (myself included). But my money’s on this buffalo surviving. And as Byron wrote earlier, The Hip and the Dead.

p.s. As always, the PI Soundoff darkly funny in it’s over the top anti-cycling response.

Photo Credit to Mike Kane/P-I


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