Wheelers and dealers: "Ride the city" makes it easy to be an urban cyclist
As gas prices have continued to rise, it's been interesting to see how people cope. In my neighborhood, it seems like people aren't driving nearly as much, but they are still spending an amazing amount of time working on their cars. I guess it's a good idea to keep the resale value up...
In the meantime, I've seen ever-increasing numbers of people standing on the subway platform, waiting for buses, and generally taking advantage of New York's amazing public transportation grid. For those who don't like to rely on the vagaries of a sometimes undependable subway line, one other choice is available: riding a bike. Of course, bike riding in the city can be a little dangerous, as New York drivers tend to be a little aggressive under the best of circumstances. Under the present circumstances...well, let's just say that when you can feel the meter running every time you hit the gas pedal, you may be a little disinclined to hit the brake!
Luckily, just as a fresh influx of people are discovering the joys of two-wheeled transportation, a website has come along that will help them find the best path through the city. Ridethecity.com offers precise directions for cyclists. It focuses on areas with bike lanes and tends to choose routes that go through parks and tree-rich areas, as they are easier on the lungs. It also integrates user comments, to give visitors a cyclist-eye view of the benefits and pitfalls of any given route.
Unfortunately, Ridethecity is only available in New York City right now, but as more and more people hang up their keys and dust off their Schwinns, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before other cities develop similar websites. In fact, if you're interested in developing a wonderful little site to generate some ad revenue, there are a lot of cyclists out there...
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He doesn't bike, but that's just because he can't rock the helmet.
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