Ride the City is a website that allows you to search for a safer bicycle trek through your city. Anyone that rides in a major city knows the perils of riding your bike on a major thoroughfare. Even if you ride on a two lane road that is fairly busy, you can still be overwhelmed with the amount of traffic that you encounter and have to deal with. Ride the City is offering a way to ease your anxiety levels by allowing you to type in a starting point and a destination point in 17 major US cities and 25(!) international cities.
The website is fairly easy to use. You can choose your city in the upper right hand corner of the page. When I visited the site, it defaulted to New York. I figured that it would sense my location and choose the nearest city (Seattle, WA in my case). Nevertheless, once I chose the city that I was interested in, it was very straight forward for choosing a route. I didn’t have any particular addresses in mind and used the handy Points of Interest feature available. I chose to ‘ride’ from the Washington State Ferry Terminals in downtown Seattle to Bhy Kracke Park, just 3.3 miles away.
Not being entirely familiar with this route, I decided to see how the route that Ride the City chose for me stacked up to Google Maps bicycling route suggestion. I headed over to Google maps and punched in the same starting and destination points, chose Bicycling as my method of transportation and watched the results. Interestingly enough, the route was the same length (3.3 miles) but an obviously different route. Google Maps chose to follow Alaskan Way which I know is a busy street.
Comparing the route directions from Google Maps and Ride the City is a good thing to do if you have never taken the route before. Ride the City throws in shortcuts that it knows are there and shorter (thanks to a community of users that submit this kind of info). Not all of the route steps are properly labeled, either. Some of the streets are titled Unnamed Street or Path. This isn’t helpful if you aren’t familiar with the area at all. If you’re up for an adventure or have some time to kill, I wouldn’t be concerned at all.
Another nice thing that Ride the City does is list bicycling related stores in the area on the map. This could come in handy if you need some repairs, gear or directions.
All in all, I think that this is a great idea that could use some obvious improvements. I think that it’s a great tool to know about. If you’ve used it, I would love to hear what your thoughts are in the comments below.