My Own Route Planning Guide

I saw a Route Planning Guide on BikePacking and I realized that some of it I use and a couple of things I will add. The rest I will look at after a couple of trips and see what I could have done better.

First off, I love the Delorme’s Atlas and Gazetteer series of maps and have them for Washington and Oregon.

Then I really think OpenCycleMap is my next favorite along with RideWithGPS.

My new one to try will be BikeMap and I will let you know how it goes.

Interactive Network Map   Adventure Cycling AssociationWait, one that wasn’t in that article that I do use is the AdventureCycling Interactive Map, which is especially valuable for forest fires and other route conditions.

Happy Maps for Biking

I watched this video and was reminded of my last TransAm, the section on the East Coast, where a couple of groups wanted to catch up to me, and they did.  They cut the chords of a route that meandered.  Sure, they rode long days, and so did I.  But on my path I encountered friends and adventures and met people not on bicycles that I would meet again.  I learned more about myself, and had so much more to learn I couldn’t even see it.  I am not saying they made a wrong decision, theirs was to be the adventure of speed, the camraderie of pouring over maps in a chase that wound before them every day. 

Life is like a bike trip.  All paths are different, even if you are on the same map tracks, one minute the road is empty, the next full.  One minute you meet someone you will know for a long time, and others you have chance encounters that you recall and faces you can’t.

Mapping apps help us find the fastest route to where we’re going. But what if we’d rather wander? Researcher Daniele Quercia demos “happy maps” that take into account not only the route you want to take, but how you want to feel along the way.

Is FreeAirPump Something Or Nothing?

Welcome to FreeAirPump.com, an ever-growing list of places that provide free air for tires.

Are you fed up with paying $0.75 to $1.00 just to fill up one of your tires? Do you think it’s ridiculous to have to swipe your credit card in order to get access to something that should be free? FreeAirPump.com provides a map of locations, mainly in the U.S. and Canada, that offer free air for tires.

The FreeAirPump.com map contains plenty of gas stations that have free air for autos. For bicyclists, you can also find numerous bike repair stations or stand alone bike pumps listed. If you know of a place in your neighborhood that provides air for free, head over to the Add a Location tab and submit your own free air location to help others across the nation.

Check out our blog for helpful hints on increasing your mpg, green energy news, and anything else that can help make your life easier. Find helpful and friendly bike shops on our map that not only offer free air, but an array of products and services to keep you cycling longer. Free air is not a thing of the past!

This list is mostly user-generated, and by no means should be considered definitive. Those of you living in Connecticut already enjoy the sweet serenity of getting free air at gas stations, so the only spots on the map in that state are for bicycles, be it a standalone bike pump, or bicycle repair/fix-it station. In California, free air is the law, but only for paying customers. Californians, I need your help! Please use the Add A Location page to report readily available free air. For the rest of us, check out themap and find free air for tires near you! Save money! Save gas! Save the planet!

Bike Safety Maps via Crowdsourcing

via Commute by Bike

This combines three of my favorite things – mapping, crowdsourcing, and bicycling – is something I can’t help cheer!

Earlier this month, at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, geography professor Dr. Trisalyn Nelson launched a new bike mapping website called BikeMaps.org. The website is a crowdsourced bike safety map that allows you to track things such as crashes, bike thefts, danger zones, and near misses. The map legend items include: citizen collision report, citizen near miss report, cyclist hazard, official collision report, and bike theft. There are also general alert areas, information about rider volume in a given area, as well as infrastructure (at least in Victoria) and an incident heat map. bikemapsorg_legend

Of course, as with any crowdsourced map, it relies on other people to populate it with data. Nonetheless, crowdsourcing has been shown to be immensely popular for preparedness and emergency response and has been widely used in recent disasters such as last year’s typhoon in the Philippines or the2010 Haiti earthquake. Open Street Map is perhaps the most prolific of crowdsourced mapping options on the internet, and it has a cycling friendly spin-off called Open Cycle Map. GoogleMaps also used a feedback option when they first launched the bike directions feature in 2010. And you can still request that they fix a problem on their maps, but it’s not really quite the same as crowdsourcing. What’s nice aboutBikeMaps.org is that it has a very specific focus on cycling hazards. So if that’s something you’re curious about before you head out on your bike, it could be your one-stop-shop for the information you need.

I spent some time playing with the map, and it’s definitely better in some places than others at the moment. Naturally, it’s a little Canada-centric at the moment, but it’s intended to be a global map. But as you can see from the data this morning, there’s definitely more information being populated in North America, with a focus around British Columbia. bikemapsorg_globalIf you zoom into Victoria, B.C., where the map originated, you can see its got quite a lot of detail. The little circles with numbers tell you the number of incidents in a given area, and when you zoom in, the information becomes increasingly detailed. bikemapsorg_victoriaAnd if you really want to get a sense of where the most incidents are occurring, you can use the incident heat map option, which basically just combines all the incidents into one intensity map with red being the highest intensity of incidents and blue being the least. bikemapsorg_heatmapThere’s also a nice bike infrastructure option on the legend, but it looks like it’s currently just limited to Victoria. Another nice feature is the rider volume, which pulls its data from Strava. So although the bike infrastructure is just limited to Victoria at the moment, you can get a sense of where people ride based on the rider volume data. bikemapsorg_densityWorking in the background of BikeMaps.org is some fancy GIS (geographic information systems) to provide the nice incident intensity bubbles and heat map. All in all, it’s a pretty slick operation. The map’s creator feels that safety fears are one of the number one things preventing people from using bicycles more for transportation, and she hopes that this will help to alleviate some of those fears. Read more of her comments in this article from the Times Colonist. As she notes here:

With only 30 to 40 per cent of cycling accident data captured by traditional data sources, BikeMaps.org represents an important effort to fill data and information gaps. I love cycling and I commute by bike daily. But, especially as a mom, I am always looking for ways our family can ride as safely as possible.

Interactive Map Tracks Portland Bicycle Maps

Article from KATU

Bicycle Crashes in Portland  OR

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland cyclists have a new tool to examine the safety record of city streets.

A new interactive map from the MIT Media Lab tracks the 1,085 bike crashes that happened in Portland between 2010 and 2013. The numbers show some of the city’s busiest streets are also the ones most likely to see crashes.

Broadway, both the northeast and northwest sections, saw the biggest number of crashes. In the three-year period examined, there were ther 78 reported crashes. Southeast Division came in second with 49 crashes. Hawthorne and Burnside tied for third with 38 crashes. Southeast 82nd Avenue rounded out the top five with 35 reported crashes.

"For some who who look at the data a lot, this isn’t new," said Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. "But it does showcase that people are choosing to ride on larger arterial strees like Broadway and Hawthorne."

Just like those who commute in their cars, bike commuters tend to want to reach their destination as fast as possible. That helps explain why so many cyclists are seen on busy roads.

"If you want to travel more quickly, if you’re one of the faster commuters, you get a little stuck or slowed down on the neighborhood greenway system," said Sadowsky. "It’s nice to have those arterial opportunities."

If anything, Sadowsky hopes an examination of the map will encourage cyclists to be more aware.

"If you’re traveling on one of the busier streets, be a little more cautious," said Sadowsky. "Behave more predictably, be seen and be clearly seen and watch for doors opening in that door zone."