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Ride the City - Ottawa

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image from Average Joe Cyclist

Today we're happy to announce that Ottawa is receiving one more tool to help make bicycling a bit easier in Canada's fourth largest city. Please welcome Ride the City - Ottawa (available in English and French). Ride the City is a bicycle routing web and mobile service (iPhone & Android) that helps bicyclists to navigate city streets; it's based on Open Street Map, the volunteer effort to map the world so anyone can contribute to Open Street Map to make it better for all bicyclists.

I ♥ NY… again

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I’ve been secretly cheating on New York City. I think it was more of an emotional affair; visiting other towns during evenings and weekends. Daydreaming of another city during the week, longing to return to its embrace. We had taken one another for granted and I even considered leaving but couldn’t imagine life without it. I decided to reawaken the love of my hometown by exploring the city; embracing its diversity, excitement and resilience.  Somehow we lost our way with the daily pressures of living full throttle in this city. I wanted to see NY in its purest form, explore the body of its streets and the pulse of its people. I wanted to know if it loved me back and decided to enlist another childhood love (a bike); hoping that it too had not turned its back on me because of my fear and indifference. 

On May 1, 2011, I began my journey in the 5 Boro Bike Tour with 32,000 other lovers of bikes and streets. I was determined, excited and woefully unprepared. With a bike more suitable for Mother Goose on a supermarket run than someone about to embark on a 43-mile journey, I set off from Battery Park.  As I pedaled furiously, being passed by the elderly and small children alike, I immediately knew that this was going to be more difficult than I had anticipated. My beach cruiser and I traveled the length of Manhattan and crossed the bridge into the Bronx. Note to self: bridges are really steep and those gear things have a purpose so you need more than three!

Fly Girls

For three years now I've been cruising around New York on my blue Nishiki road bike, perfectly content to work what I call the “riding dirty” look; the look that one commenter on the Wall Street Journal's Beyond Spandex: Chic Styles for Cyclists Take Off astutely referred to as “biking ugly.” I'm a personal trainer by trade, and I have the easiest gig in the city to show up on a bike to: my uniform is black spandex and sneakers, my hair looks sportier tied up in a bun, and it's better for business when I practice what I preach, anyway. All of which means I wear tee shirts 29 days out of 30, a substantial portion of my garments have suffered hip-height grease stains, and the most important product in my makeup bag is Purell. So looking cute, chic, stylish, or like I belong anywhere besides on the bike or in the gym has never even needed to be a priority. Until recently, this has been fine because, inevitably, biking turned out to be the priority.

Biking in Toronto

Toronto. A city filled with people. Cars. Taxis. Bikes. And interesting bike related things. We have amazing bike paths (some even along Lake Ontario, with beautiful views!), bike lanes, BIXI bikes (yay!) bike events, and fabulous bike shops! We also have a lot of art in the city, and some of these art pieces include bike parts!

I found one of these bike-part-art-pieces while walking in my new neighbourhood, and was super excited about it! So excited that I took a couple of pictures of it so I could share it with you lovely people! It's a fence made from bike parts.

Amsterdam comes to Miami

This past week, I was alerted to an article in the Miami Herald that described Miami’s efforts to become more bike friendly. According to the article, the city plans to install miles of new bike lanes, widen shoulders and paint shared lane markings to “encourage people to use bicycles for their daily business—to get to school or work, to run errands, to go out to eat or visit the neighborhood park.” As part of the effort, Miami recruited three “top experts on ‘cycling as transportation’” from Holland to spend three days brainstorming how “to turn the city’s car-clogged downtown into a virtual Amsterdam of safe, connected bikeways.”

Show your support with Ride the City badges

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If you like Ride the City, we've just made it easier for you to support our independent, community-based bike routing project. Just copy/paste any of these Ride the City badges onto your blog, website, or wherever you like to let your readers know that you support safe and healthy bicycle transportation.

Your support of Ride the City also helps to advance Open Street Map, the volunteer, wikipedia-like, effort to map the world.

We'd like to thank our friends Kelly and James for making these thoughtful badges. Here are the different sizes:

Ride the City comes to Android

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You've been asking for it for months, and it's finally here: Ride the City for android devices!

Our new android app has many of the same great features as the iPhone app:

  • You can use it every city we're in (currently 27) and every city we'll ever be in
  • Choose whether you want a route that goes out of the way in order to maximize bike paths and bike lanes or whether you're comfortable taking the most direct legal route
  • See where you can find a nearby bike shop and/or rental location in case you need some gear (or repairs) on the go
  • Choose start and end points from the contacts list on your device so you don't have to remember and type in long addresses
  • Provide feedback on routes to us so we can make quick fixes

iPhone app update: Ride the City 1.3

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Version 1.3 of the Ride the City iPhone app is in the Apple Store!

This new update includes the following:

  1. Choosing a starting or end address by selecting from your list of contacts
  2. Updated icons (Thanks, Kelly!)
  3. Layers: toggle the bike shops on/off
  4. New splash page

Some screen shots:

Splash Page: Ride your bicycle under the open sky!


Map & Layers: If you don't want to see bike shops, toggle them on/off with the layers button in the bottom right corner. In the future, we'll add more options to the layers button.

Riding the River of Grass

This past Sunday, I took part in a benefit ride for the River of Grass Greenway (ROGG), a proposed multi-purpose trail that would stretch approximately 75 miles from Naples (on the Gulf Coast of Florida) to Miami, parallel to state highway 41 through the Florida Everglades.

Ride the City - Montreal

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It's beginning to feel like spring in the northern hemisphere so what better time to launch bicycling directions for our friends to the north, eh? Now, bicyclists in the largest city in Quebec have one more tool to find a safe way to ride around town. Give a shout out to Ride the City - Montreal (In French) Bravo!

Special thanks to Sophie Roussel for the back and forth to help us translate Ride the City to French.

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