Once you've been biking or bike commuting for awhile, favorite routes develop - to avoid a treacherous intersection, pass a beloved city landmark, or follow a favorite low-traffic stretch of road.
And maybe you aren't ready to share. If you are, the New York Times wants your wisdom. For 15 U.S. cities as well as the city of Toronto, the NYT has put out maps the allow you to add comments on any city street point or intersection. The only caveat is the comments must be 10 words or less.
Gathering wisdom is a good idea, because other methods of route finding - unwieldy paper maps, and even the best brains working on Google, or RidetheCity, or other map apps - just can't find perfect routes or adapt to changing conditions fast enough. Nor do they allow users a way to point out for others the little tips and tricks that can make a crosstown ride so much easier and more enjoyable.Too bad the New York Times map of wisdom isn't somehow incorporated with Google Maps. But then again, too bad Google Maps and Apple's iPhone map app don't support biking very well on smart phones.
If you are ready to welcome the wisdom of the crowd, check out NYT's great maps, and add your own piece of advice to cyclists. Since the maps appeared a few days ago, contributors have already added more than 4,200 words of wisdom.
If you are looking to have more fun while biking or ride with others for the bike joy, there's a new app that lets you know of bike rides that others post, and then find them, even when en route. Bike Fun Finder is currently only available for Android smart phones, but the iPhone version is in the works.
Bike Fun Finder lets you post about a ride and publicize it other users, as well as broadcast the ride so that stragglers or unexpected riders can find the ride on a map and figure out if they can catch up with it.
Currently, Bike Fun Finder is free.