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3rd Ward - Bike Mechanics Classes

3rd WardEvery now and again we all have to face the ugly reality of bike problems like flat tires and gears that don't work. It's easy when you can go to a good bike shop nearby but at some point it's great to know how to do it yourself.

Well, here's your chance to get on the ball. 3rd Ward, a Brooklyn organization that's committed to spreading bike love, is a member-based design center that holds over 100 different classes every season, including circuitry, crafts, web design, photography and woodworking, all are open to the public.

Recycled bikes: art and goods

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Got a nice tip today. Etsy's got tons of bicycle-related goods. My tipster brought me to a crafts person who makes bike art and goods from recycled bicycle materials: Rebicyclist. Here's a belt made from an old tire that you can pick up for $30 on Etsy. Recycled bike tire belt

In addition to belts, Rebicyclist makes key chains, buckles, and art, all made in the sweet city of Portland, OR.

I searched a bit more on Etsy (keyword "bike") and found a whole bunch of bike goods: T-shirts, posters, bags, coasters, note cards, etc... Here's the link to that "bike" search and some images (linked) to what you'll see there:

iPhone app now available in all 9 cities

Back in April we launched the iPhone app for NYC (blog post). Since then we got plenty of feedback - hootin and hollering - requesting added features to make the app easier to use. We put our developers at Door3 to work and today we're happy to announce that version 1.2 of the Ride the City iPhone app is now available.

Key features of the Ride the City iPhone app include:

  • As on the website, the iPhone app steers cyclists toward routes that maximize the use of bike lanes, bike paths, greenways, and other bike-friendly streets. The app avoids high-traffic streets and steep climbs.

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.

NYC - Eighth most bike-friendly city...in America

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Photo-illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images, iStockphoto
This morning New York Magazine chimed in on Bicycling magazine's rating of NYC as the eighth most bicycle-friendly city in the US: America's Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities. (How about the rest of the Americas?)

I think it's interesting that my hometown of Eugene, Oregon came in at number five. It's difficult to compare NYC to a city like Eugene, which only has about a 150,000 residents, where taxis and pigeons are few. Eugene does have many on- and off-street bike paths, but in only the last three years NYC has rolled out 200 miles of bike lanes, according to NYC DOT. And they're planning to add another 30 miles this year. At this rate, we'll be in the top three before not too long. How's your city doing?

Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter! Here's a treat that's good for any time of the year.

By the way, I came across this Easter bike ride outside of Chicago, the 29th annual Easter Ride. More Easter bunny bike rides would be nice.

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.

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