Although the ridiculous media fuss about CitiBike — and its all-powerful bike lobby backers — intensified this weekend, there was also one bright spot: the New York Times unveiled an interactive map that lets users add their own tips and warnings to fellow riders.
The map invites cyclists to add ten-word blurbs to a map of the city. They range from practical advice (“Avoid Brooklyn Bridge unless it’s early or late”) to jokey (“Williamsburg Bridge is a drag strip for Category 6 racing”). You can also toggle onto a secondary mode, which pulls data from the popular GPS tracking app, Strava, to show which routes are most popular amongst users. There are already plenty of different mapping options for cyclists who need directions, but this interactive grants us access to a secondary layer of information: all of the tips and tricks that, normally, take years of experience to amass. And, as thousands of new cyclists flood the streets, a service like this is incredibly useful.
The map comes on the heels of an op-ed published by the NYT a few weeks back, which critiqued the lack of viable smartphone apps for the average bike commuter. It seems that the paper’s Graphics Desk wasn’t content to wait for someone to develop a good interactive map — instead, they did it themselves. Check out the map here, and for in-depth advice, head over to WNYC's Bike Advice project. For more mapping goodness, there's a beautiful CitiBike heatmap here.