Thanks to the Bicycle Transport Alliance of Western Australia for the heads-up on this new routing mapping website, Ride the City of Perth. Ride the City – Australia (currently is available for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne uses bike routing data that is sourced completely from Open Street Map (OSM), the volunteer effort to map the world.
The website seems pretty straight forward to use. You enter where you want to start your ride and where you want to finish. You can then select for the website to calculate a safer route, a safe route or the direct route.
It then provides you with both a map of your route and a directions cue sheet.Â The map is coloured coded reflecting on road sections (purple), shared path sections (green) and blue for bike lanes.
The cue sheet also contains symbols indicating what type of facility you are riding on, e.g., shared road/bicycle route, a cycle path, a bicycle lane.
In addition it provides the total distance of the route, an estimated time to ride which seems widely conservative to me and elevation gain (I couldn’t get this calculate for my routes).
The route can be printed (this is a print out of the map and directions formatted for printing), sent to a mobile phone (this is US only by the looks of it) and link to the route can be emailed. If you register you then also have the save a route option available. The route can also be rated which allows you to give feedback on the route and its accuracy.
Your route can be also overlayed with bike facilities, bike shops and bike parking facilities.
I tested it out with a couple of my regular routes and it did come up with some pretty reasonable routes. The routes it came up with are pretty much in line with the directions I take, but with some variance. Riding the routes proposed is really required to give a better idea of the suitability, that said it is helpful tool in my view for getting to new destinations or for visitors looking for route options.
According to the FAQ you can also “teach” the website to learn your preferences for a section of a route, e.g., hate that section. love that section. This sounds like a good idea to me. For those keen it also interfaces with the Open Street Map project so you can simply right click to go to the OSM to edit the underlying data.
Ride the City allows you to save your preferred street segments to your user profile. First, log in to Ride the City and run a route. Then select any street segment along that route and rate it. For example, if Ride the City routes you down a street that you always avoid, give that street a low rating. In the future, Ride the City will be less likely to route you down that street. The more streets you rate, the more Ride the City will reflect your own preferences.
This YouTube video gives you an idea of how to use the website.
There is also a iPhone version of Ride the City which has a cost price of $2.99.