Excuse: “I don’t know a bike-friendly way to get where I want to go.”
This past week my husband and I were in San Antonio and enjoyed the B-cycle bike share system. For just $24 each, we had access to great bikesand plenty of docks at cool locations for an entire week. The only issue we ran into was navigating the crazy one-way streets (as well as one way streets that randomly turned to two way street and/or turned into one-ways the other direction). Knowing how to find a bike-friendly route when making bike plans makes a huge difference in the comfort and efficiency of your bike trips.
Here are a few strategies I’ve found helpful:
– Google Maps Bike Routes: Google Maps has an option to identify bike friendly routes when finding directions. It will even find bike paths when possible. Use with caution as this option is still in beta and kinks are still being ironed out.
– Avoid Busy Roads: Some people feel completely comfortable on a busy four-lane road, but not most. Use Google (or another mapping website) to identify bigger, busier streets. Look for parallel side streets that will be easier to navigate that you can take instead.
– Traffic Signals: Find routes with stop signs and stop lights at major intersections. The clarity and directions provided by traffic signals offer cyclists confidence and peace of mind. Signals will also keep you from having cross busy roads frogger style.
– Search for Local Bike Maps and Trails: In Chicago there is a very helpful Chicago Bike Map. Do some online searching for a map that highlights protected bike lanes, shared lanes, and trails. For trails across the country, Rails to Trails continues to build on a network of safe, convenient bike trails using old rail lines.
– Ride with a Bike Group: A local cycle club will be familiar with the quickest, most bike-friendly routes around town. If you can’t find a local bike club, ask your local Jimmy John’s bike delivery guy.
– Ask on a Bike Forum: Websites like The Chainlink do a great job of connecting cyclists. If you’re having trouble finding a safe, bike-friendly route (such as one between downtown Chicago and the west suburbs) try asking on the forum.
Back to San Antonio – Once we realized we were were going to need to map our routes around San Antonio we were much better off. Although, as much as I loved the bikes in San Antonio it was exciting to know that my new Yuba Boda Boda Lux was waiting for me at home. It was slightly torturous as the last part arrived in Chicago just after we left. Of course, the night we got home I was happy to be on familiar streets riding my beautiful new cargo bike.
Want more? Here are some related articles:
- Bike share programs are all the rage in 2013 (smartsign.com)
- 10 Brilliant Pieces of Bike Infrastructure (theatlanticcities.com)
- Google Maps Brings Bike Directions to 6 European Countries (mashable.com)
- Five Things Dallas Needs to Become More Bike-Friendly, According to Cycling Advocates (blogs.dallasobserver.com)