Google has a Lady (and Lady-lover) commuter’s back.
No more need to slow and squint in the darkness of back roads to search for street names. Google maps now offers audible, turn-by-turn directions for cyclists! You can use their GPS or your smartphone, both mountable to your handlebars.
More on this excellent option:
According to Google, not only are such handy bike-route maps available for desktop and mobile users, cyclists using Google Maps Navigation (beta) can now mount their Android phones to their handlebars to receive turn-by-turn directions and navigation, as well as voice-guided directions.
This comes on the heels of Google Map’s recent expansion of its cycling route maps to an additional 10 countries — Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
“We know there are lots of ways to get from here to there, which is why in 2010, we added biking directions to Google Maps in the U.S. and Canada, and continue to work to bring more biking features to more places,” writes Google’s Larry Powelson, in a blog post. “Today, there are more than 330,000 miles (equal to more than 530,000 kilometers, or half a gigameter) of green biking lines in Google Maps.”
The future of transportation meets the future of navigation. How lovely!
I still prefer paper maps and getting a little lost, but for two-wheel trips in foreign lands, this could be a life-saver. Not to mention the potential-Lady-commuters who may be anxious about riding in traffic that may now be encouraged to try, knowing they wont be forced to make hurried maneuvers in an attempt to re-direct a misrouted trip!
Enjoy your fabulous, worry-free ride, Ladies!
Well said, Lady-lover!
In a recent discussion on BikePortland.org, commenter El Biciclero had the following to say about calls from drivers to require bikes to be licensed in the state of Oregon:
It is my firm belief that nowadays, most folks who call for licensing/registration of riders/bicycles do so with a revenge motive. A lot of people see cyclists just as you describe–as somehow cheating the system. They don’t think it seems “fair” for cyclists to get a “free” ride.
I’ll tell you about “free”.
“Free” means inhaling the exhaust and dust spewed or kicked up by drivers. “Free” means drivers frequently coming within seconds or inches of killing or injuring me, and having such a cavalier attitude about it as to be considered contempt. “Free” means paying in time and physical effort for what drivers pay for in cash. “Free” means getting roasted by the sun and drenched by the rain. “Free” means taking a longer (often MUCH longer) route–even though I am already also going slower–than I would take in a car because it is “safer”, or because the direct route is literally and legally off-limits to bicycle travel. “Free” means having my spouse come nearly to tears when I mention trying a new route to work that involves an unprotected left turn. “Free” means having other people consistently think they need to act like my parent and tell me where I “should” or “shouldn’t” be. “Free” means observing 10 to 15 serious traffic violations by auto drivers in one trip home from work–two or three of which directly endanger me–while knowing most folks consider me to be the scofflaw menace. “Free” means reading comments on “news” articles by troglodytes who think it would be funny to watch me die. “Free” means that were I ever to be involved in an altercation with a driver in which police were involved, my story would likely be automatically discounted/disbelieved because I was not also in a car. Oh, and “free” means I still pay taxes that contribute to the construction and maintenance of roads that are destroyed by cars.
“Free” also means that I can hear birds singing and the actual flapping of ducks’ wings as they pass over my head–on the way to work. “Free” means I can tell what most of my neighbors are having for dinner by the smell as I glide along the street. “Free” means “no gym membership necessary”. “Free” means I can feel the thermal micro-climate fluctuations as I sweep past low-lying woodsy areas. “Free” means I can hear the leaves crunching under my wheels in the Fall. “Free” means I only fill up the car (if I have a car) once a month or less, rather than every week. “Free” means I can do much of my own vehicle maintenance, rather than pay a mechanic the cost of a brand new bike to fix some car problem. “Free” means that I can still feel strong, even as I get older. “Free” means I can stop and chat with friends I might see walking along the sidewalk. “Free” means I care more about the weather report than the traffic report. “Free” means that if I ever do need to take the car (if I own a car) in for repair, I can leave the car and don’t have to get a loaner or bum a ride to get home. “Free” means that using my vehicle often feels more like playing a musical instrument than operating a mechanical device. “Free” means I might avoid a lot of the prescription drugs and healthcare costs associated with sedentary lifestyles. “Free” means I have a much lower chance of backing over my own kid in the driveway. “Free” means I know how to drive a car, but if I don’t have one or the one I have is broken down, I don’t necessarily care. “Free” means that even when drivers yell or rev their engines or attempt to guess my sexual orientation, I know I don’t need to do any of those things to other people to make myself feel big and strong; I am strong.
Keep standing up for the truth of our experience, El Biciclero.
And as always: enjoy the ride!
What a lovely idea!
Another example of the joys of public space and benefits of commuting in ways that allow you to experience your surroundings.
99 markers with games and instructions are scattered around pubic spaces in London, encouraging fun and interaction with city and neighbors.
More on the games:
Inhabitants and visitors of London can currently find 99 tiny games in public space. The games are part of Showtime, a free outdoor arts festival that gives all Londoners the chance to enjoy “world class entertainment and culture on their doorstep”.
People who look closely will find the miniature games in all kinds of places, varying from bus stops to bandstands and from parks to shopping malls. A conversation game over here, a chasing game over there, a people-watching game up on that balcony… The little games are everywhere, really. The only thing you have to do is to find the round stickers on walls and pavements in streets and parks that explain the rules of the easy-to-play games.
There’s also an app with a listing of the locations closest to you, so you can find play wherever you are.
Hurtling past, surrounded by steel, oblivious to missed opportunities for adventure? Sad.
Happening across one of these on a meandering ride? Absolutely wonderful!
Keep riding and discovering, Ladies!
Ladies of CA, the fabulous news just keeps coming!
In Glendale, the city council is seeking to exponentially expand the cycling infrastructure to encourage more citizen cycling commuters and trips by bike.
More from LATimesBlogs.com:
With less than 1% of Glendale commuters biking to work, the City Council on Tuesday night is scheduled to consider a $5.8-million improvement plan designed to encourage more people to use a two-wheeler to get to the office.
Listed among the improvements in the 225-page Bicycle Transportation Plan is about 100 more miles of bike lanes, paths and routes — roughly five times more than what exists now.
The bicycle plan comes after two years of community outreach and studies on how to make biking more attractive in Glendale.
Some parts of the plan, however, have sparked controversy, particularly “road diets,” or slimming streets by one lane in each direction to make way for bike lines.
Ladies are lovely at every size, but steel-box accomodating roads? The slimmer, the better.
And in additional news, with unanimous approval from city council, Long Beach will be installing a huge bike share program.
More from TreeHugger.com:
A couple years ago, we posted a video about how Long Beach (California) wanted to become the #1 Bike-Friendly City in the US. It’s always good to aim high, but actions must follow words, and in this case, it looks like Long Beach is walking the talk. They’ve just announced that the privately-funded program was unanimously approved by the city council yesterday. It will include up to 250 kiosks and 2,500 bikes, with initial installations expected to begin in February of 2013 in downtown.
[...] The bikes will be chainless and feature active GPS technology and airless tires, reducing the need for on-road service. The kiosks are modular, portable, wirelessly connected and solar powered so that monitoring and load balancing is easily managed. Bike Nation’s kiosks, docks, station platforms and bikes are all manufactured in the United States.
Long Beach and Chicago have both announced plans to become the #1 bike city in the US, seeing the potential economic, health, productivity, and happiness benefits to cities that promote bike commuting.
Portland, OR: are you listening? You can no longer rest on your laurels and pat yourself on the back for what is currently in place. If you want to maintain your title, you better start improving and expanding your space for Ladies (and Lady-lovers) atop two wheels, and soon!
But for now, Ladies in CA: Keep riding and smiling!
From Sally Guyer in the UK:
What inspires me to ride, you ask? Well, all of the reasons you suggest – yes, I like knowing it’s best for the environment (& I’ve noticed you get up much closer to wildlife on a bike than any other form of transport including walking); yes, it certainly makes for greatly stress-reduced commuting and yes, I certainly burn off a few extra calories; personally, I think cycle chic e.g. people riding upright bicycles in their normal clothes looks extremely cool (in my case, always a dress and heels) – (not a fan of sports clothes or being hunched over the handlebars as I was brought up to ‘sit up straight – nice straight back in ballet and horse-riding’); it also saves me a good deal of time so I find it very convenient; it also saves me a lot of money but yes, yes, yes, most of all, riding a bike brings me joy. I love the sense of freedom, fresh air, ‘me time'; what not to like!
Well said, Sally! Thanks for sharing your story!
And check out this gorgeous Lady with her bike (wearing one of her lovely Cambridge Rain Coats, of course!). You, Lady, as an entrepreneur and fellow cycling Lady, are a true inspiration.
Keep smiling, making gorgeous Lady attire, and enjoying the ride!
PS- Check out Sally’s fabulous coats: The Cambridge Raincoat Company
Trees do far more than beautify your ride, clean your air, and bring a smile to a Lady’s face.
Statistics show that the presence of a colorful canopy can reduce crime, save on the cost of AC, increase home value, speed physical regeneration (no, not zombies), and so much more!
From an article on Switchboard.nrdc.org, 6 major benefits of trees:
- The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
- If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3 percent less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12 percent.
- One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen.
- A number of studies have shown that real estate agents and home buyers assign between 10 and 23 percent of the value of a residence to the trees on the property.
- Surgery patients who could see a grove of deciduous trees recuperated faster and required less pain-killing medicine than matched patients who viewed only brick walls.
- In one study, stands of trees reduced particulates by 9 to 13 percent, and the amount of dust reaching the ground was 27 to 42 percent less under a stand of trees than in an open area.
Trees are officially awesome.
And trees do so much more. A must read article: The 22 Benefits of Urban Street Trees by Dan Burden. From boosting local economies, decreasing the cost of local drainage infrastructure, improving citizen’s emotional and physical health, extending the life of pavement, and decreasing road rage, the benefits of trees are endless.
And one of the best arguments in support of more urban trees is the sense of connection, to other humans and to nature, they foster:
Urban street trees provide a canopy, root structure and setting for important insect and bacterial life below the surface; at grade for pets and romantic people to pause for what pets and romantic people pause for; they act as essential lofty environments for song birds, seeds, nuts, squirrels and other urban life. Indeed, street trees so well establish natural and comfortable urban life it is unlikely we will ever see any advertisement for any marketed urban product, including cars, to be featured without street trees making
the ultimate dominant, bold visual statement about place.
Want to see more trees in your neighborhood? Check out local organizations, like Friends of Trees in Portland, OR, or head out and plant some urban forest in your own backyard or in a planter on your balcony.
And enjoy the experience of pedaling past lovely tree lined streets, breeze in your hair.
Keep riding and enjoying the view, Ladies!
Riding a bike.
Few things in life are so simple, so joyful, and so kinesthetically natural that they seem to be inherently human.
When I started riding as a child, I’d hop atop my pink Huffy to explore quiet neighborhood streets. I’d pretend I was on a Shackleton-esque exploratory-but-less-disastrous adventure, whisking my crew through treacherous terrain.
The roads were my realm of imagination; my neighbors’ driveways ports to distant lands.
I still smile just thinking about it. There’s something beautiful about getting lost in your own head in familiar places.
Outside of riding the ex-railroad bike trail near our house, this is what I knew of riding: creativity, fun, imagination, freedom. It was literally whatever I made it to be.
When I stepped into my first real bike shop as an adult, I didn’t know steel from carbon fiber, let alone a road bike from my beloved walmart-sourced childhood cycle. With the assistance of the neighborhood shop owner, I purchased my first jesus-christ-bikes-cost-HOW-much?! road bike: an aluminum frame with carbon fiber fork (to keep it lighter, he said), standard handlebars I later learned were “drops”, a pair of bike shoes that could accomodate SPD’s (though I had clips. Again, not really knowing more than “something is obviously attached to my pedal.”), a computer to track my speed and mileage, and water bottle cages (learning that outside of childhood Lady bikes, these weren’t standard).
And none of this mattered to me. I had a bike, road or touring or otherwise. It was light, it was shiny, and it took me wherever I wanted to go.
That simplicity is incredibly beautiful, just like the simplest moments in life are so heart-burstingly beautiful. Just like riding past chalked hop-scotch on a sidewalk, or a “free” box, or children playing in a fountain, or an older couple sitting together on a bench, or a hidden sprinkling of wild flowers in an overgrown lot are all lovely and precious.
It’s easy to lose sight of the sheer joy of riding when cycling becomes a competition of capitalistic consumption (wireless shifting! titanium frames! SPANDEX!), image, and speed.
But after temporarily inhabiting that world, as many of us do when getting into the wonderful world of riding, I’ve been scaling back in order to find what matters to me, what is really necessary, and what is useless fluff.
Most high-end gear? If anything, it takes away from the ride. You get so focused on numbers, be it speed, exact distance, or weight, that you stop experiencing. You get lost in comparison.
I still like to buy accessories from time to time, many I feature on this site, out of an appreciation for quality craftsmanship, beauty, and support for small and local businesses. But all with an eye towards simplicity, towards increasing the number of smiles experienced in a single day.
And so I arrive at the point of this diatribe, Ladies (and Lady-lovers):
Ride because you love to, or you’re interested, or you have someplace to go.
Ride in whatever you want on whatever bike you love, because who gives a shit what anyone else is doing.
Never forget that riding is an adventure, that every place you go, even familiar, is a new and precious experience.
And of course, ride with love, kindness, and compassion. It’s cheesy, but we’re really all in this together. Our world, neighbors, and strangers can always use a little more love, and a bike is a vehicle to spread more of it; to others and ourselves.
And as always: don’t forget to enjoy your ride.