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Introducing Biking Jobs

Biking Jobs: Bringing people together in the bicycle industry

Bike Mechanic Wanted Ad

Riding a bicycle is fun and it's a great way to get around. But for some people the bicycle is more than just a past time or a form of transportation--it's a job. From your neighborhood bike mechanic or local city bicycle planner, to the people who designed your bike frame, there are bike-related jobs all around... but not always easy to find. Today we're changing that.

NYC 2010 bike route updates

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Back in December 2007, before we launched Ride the City it was no piece of cake to get data from the City. For the bike route data, for example, we first had to track down which agency maintained the data. You'd think it'd be in the hands of the Department of Transportation (DOT) but actually at the time it was at the Department of City Planning. When we figured that out, we had to make a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to City Planning because although the data was public, it wasn't freely accessible. We made the official FOIL request, then after some back/forth with City Planning, and a couple months, we got the data that allowed us to begin to work on Ride the City. By the way, City Planning was always incredibly helpful and the experience was quite pleasant. Nevertheless, getting public data just a few years ago was a pain in the neck. Fortunately, that's changing.

Just this week, NYCDOT added NYC bike route data to its data feeds. Now anyone with an Internet connection can get the free public data quickly. The data includes the type of bike facility that each line segment represents, and also whether it has certain car-free hours, is an on- or off-street bike facility, and comments with descriptive information (i.e. walk your bike). The included metadata also include a suggested symbology (e.g. green lines for separated Class I bike routes; red lines for Class II routes, etc).

iPhone app: Ride the City - NYC

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Ever since we launched Ride the City, we've been getting requests for a mobile version of the application. Well, here it is: Link to iTunes Preview. The app costs $1.99 and is available for New York City; we will be rolling out apps for the other cities soon.

The app gives you most of the great functionality of the web application but in a pocket-sized, location-aware package (it also works on the iPod touch and iPad). Key features of the Ride the City - NYC iPhone app include:

  • As on the website, the iPhone app steers you toward routes that maximize the use of bike lanes, bike paths, greenways, and other bike-friendly streets. Routes avoid high-traffic streets and steep climbs.
  • You can select your preferred route sensitivity: direct, safe, or safer. Or you can change them on the fly.
  • The directions are displayed on the map with an easy-to-read scrollable screen – perfect for double-checking your trip when taking a break.
  • Find the nearest bike shops (and get directions to one) with just one touch.
  • We've placed a Report an Error button prominently on the map so you can provide instant feedback to report a mistake on the map or to suggest a better way around.
  • As on the website, Ride the City utilizes a CloudMade basemap that is sourced from OpenStreetMap, the volunteer community mapping project that is making a free map of the world.

Ride the City - San Francisco

Today we're bridging our West Coast cities of Seattle and San Diego with the launch of Ride the City - San Francisco. Now, in addition to Google's handy application, cyclists have one more tool to search for bike routes. Ride the City - SF includes only the City of San Francisco. Rather than roll out the entire Bay Area, we chose instead to focus on delivering a great product for SF. The surrounding counties will be coming soon.

Ride the City - Toronto

Photo by Martin Reis, aka Tino
Last fall I took a trip to Toronto to visit a couple friends and when I got there I was blown away by the number of bikes. There were loads of cyclists, bike parking lots everywhere and a general feeling that cycling is a heavily-used form of transportation. It’s crazy to think that although it’s just a stone’s throw from the U.S., bicycling in Toronto is significantly more popular. According to the 2009 City of Toronto Cycling Study, nearly 30 percent of Toronto residents age 15 and older used bicycles for utilitarian purposes, growing from 20 percent in 1999. Biking to work and school has increased to 16 percent of residents age 15 and older vs. 11 percent in 1999. This is a city that clearly sees bikes as a viable mode of transportation.

Ride the City - DC Metro

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Image Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Washington D.C. is a great city for bicycling: its greenway network is extensive and it's relatively flat. D.C. is also home to Smartbike DC, a public bike rental program.

We're happy to announce that today bicycling in the nation's capital just got easier: Welcome Ride the City - DC Metro! This newest addition includes Washington D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, all of Fairfax, and the Maryland suburbs within the Capital Beltway. We're hopeful that by making it easier to ride bikes around the epicenter of U.S. political power that we may inspire more action to bring about improved bicycle facilities everywhere, especially in cities where biking is a sensible alternative to driving.

NYC BigApps

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It's striking how quickly technology has changed and sped up this past 10 years. From blogs and smart phones to Twitter and social networking, the Internet and access to data is making communication easier, faster, and more efficient.

NYC is at the leading edge of this front because it's actively promoting free access to data sharing. In October, the City launched the NYC BigApps Competition specifically for that purpose, to attract useful applications built from data that the City provides for free. In their words:

"The City of New York is improving the way it provides information and transparency to citizens. But delivering great information requires great tools. The NYC BigApps Competition will reward the developers of the most useful, inventive, appealing, effective, and commercially viable applications for delivering information from the City of New York's Data Mine to interested users."

From today through January 7th, you can raise your mice to vote for the applications you like best. There are lots of handy apps, many of which I plan to use on a regular basis, such as NYC Landmarks, for all those times when you see a horrible rehab job and wish you knew if the building were in a historic district, or Hey Walkies, which shows all the dog park locations (each marked with a cute pink paw). Oh, and if you like what we're doing here, you can vote for Ride the City, too. We're grateful to the City for making its LION street centerline files available to the public. Without that, Ride the City likely wouldn't be here.

To participate, simply go to the NYC BigApps website, sign in, and then you're eligible to vote.

Quick release: Ride the City 2.1

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Photo by Vaidila Kungys

If you've been following us on twitter, you know that today we're launching Ride the City 2.1.

Check it out:

Here's a summary of what's new:
1. We now maintain elevation data for every city and show you how much climbing you'll do on your route. We also take elevation into account when we generate routes. So you get a flatter route option, if there is one.

2. You now have a third option for setting the start/end point. Just right-click anywhere on the map - shebang.

3. You can create a user. This isn't very useful in itself, but it allows us to begin to provide you a new level of customization, including the next two features:

4. If you're logged in as a user, you can name and save your favorite routes. Then, whenever you like you can select the saved routes from your account page to re-create them again.

5. If you're logged in, you can right-click ANY street segment anywhere in the city, including along a route to rate it. Why would you want to rate street segments? Because once you do, Ride the City will generate all your future routes with your preferences/ratings, overriding Ride the City's built-in preferences. For example, if you find that Ride the City takes you over some bridge too often, assign it a low rating and the next time it won't put you over that bridge.

Ride the City - Seattle

Photo by Timmy Corkery
Since we started Ride the City in the spring of 2008, Seattle has been one of the most requested new communities for our routing application.

It makes sense that we'd hear from Seattle-area cyclists: according to 2008 American Community Survey data, Seattle ranked third (behind Portland and Minneapolis) in the share of commuters who use a bicycle as their primary means of getting to work in what the League of American Bicyclists characterizes as "Bicycle Friendly Communities."

Just in time for fender season, we'd like to announce that Ride the City-Seattle is up and running—we mean riding! (btw, if you've already been using Ride the City-Seattle, we've just added the bike shops, so it should be a bit more handy for you now.)

Check it it out here:

We'd like to thank Brian Dougherty of the Seattle Department of Transportation, Tessa Greegor of the Cascade Bicycle Club, Tina Bechler of Bike Works, and all those who submitted feedback on our alpha version of the Seattle site. (It's never too late to send feedback, by the way. Just click the 'rate the route' link and let us know how we can improve our Seattle data.)

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