Going By Bike? There's A Map App (or Two) For That
Ride the City supports 9 cities, yet only the Big Apple (thus far) gets an iPhone app.
The jubilation in some quarters of the biking community when Google launched its Maps Bike There feature earlier this year was palpable - after all, 50,000 industrious cyclists had signed a petition created by cyclist Peter Smith and sent to Google to get them to add the feature, and Google's Elaine Filadelfo said it was the most requested feature addition to Maps. In spite of its 150 U.S. city coverage and the 12,000 miles of bike trails and roads it incorporated into the system from Rails to Trails, Google Maps Bike is not the only bike navigation game in town.
Ride the City maps are based on OpenStreetMaps and allow you to choose between most direct and "safer" bike routes.
In fact, as Smith says on his web site, he first started his efforts prodding Google along the path of adding bike navigation into Maps because he saw a lot of other smaller-scale, disparate efforts going on - including Berlin's bbbike and the Portland, Oregon and Milwaukie, Wisconsin map software called byCycle.org.
All together, Smith has charted 23 different mapping applications. Some of these, such as Cycling Metro Vancouver, are supported by city government and are unlikely to expand much beyond their current geographical borders.
Ride the City, however, which currently has nine cities (San Francisco was the most recently introduced) is planning to continue adding cities and capability, though not at the pace that a superfunded behemoth like Google can, says founder Vaidila Kungys.
"We're going to be a slow turtle," Kungys said. "Both of us supporting Ride the City have full time jobs. Ideally, we would have more resources - say two guys working full time - then we could put out approximately four new cities per month.We'll just be a little slower."
Kungys points out that though Ride the City is in the same class it has a slightly different approach to providing directions - the software is based . Users can choose the most direct route, a safe route or the most safe route. Kungys also said Ride the City and Google both want to provide information, but Ride the City is specifically focused at the commuter and transport cycling community, and will partner with bike businesses to highlight them at the site.
Google's Filadelfo said its Google Maps for Mobile applications should be ready for release withint the next few months though there's no set release date for an iPhone enabled version. Ride the City wants its next cities to be a surprise - the U.S. West Coast or Canada was the closest Kungys would come to a revelation.