If Only Cycle Routes Were End-To-End . . .
. . . it’d be really easy to plan any journey. Just hop on your bike and ride to your destination. Simples!
The problem is that you start riding, find yourself in a nice wide bike lane with friendly blue signs . . . that promptly vanish, usually when you need them most. Or you find yourself following a route that seems determined to prove that the fabric of space-time isn’t just curved but as twisted as the logic of the traffic engineer who designed it. Scenic, yes; efficient; hell no!
If you’re a confident rider, you might just opt for the cycle routes that go everywhere (they’re called "roads" - that’s a bit of a technical term, so use it sparingly or your friends will think you’re some sort of nerd). But then you end up with the problem that only major roads seem to be clearly signposted, and in a strange town this can lead to the sort of sphincter-clenching ride that I had the other week in London . No fun at all, and because of all the pesky traffic pretty inefficient too.
If only there were some sort of navigation aid to help with this problem . . . .
How about this one - due for release soon on iPhone, courtesy of the UK’s bike shops and their subscription to BikeHub.co.uk - the UK bicycle levy scheme:
An iPhone app that’ll find a route that’s right for you - it understands that sometimes you just need to get somewhere quickly (but still avoid scary dual carriageways), while other times you want a reasonably direct quiet route (as traffic-free as possible) that also does its best to avoid hills. It knows all about the National Cycle Network, shows contour lines, and other useful stuff. And when you get a flat, or need to get a problem with your chaincase fixed, just tap the "shops" button to find every bike shop within six miles.
Best of all . . . it’s FREE. And if you’re not an Apple fan-boy, there’s also an Android version following on soon.
I think this’ll be one that I’ll be downloading as soon as it’s released towards the end of this month!