The Chainlink

I've noticed there are a few bike apps.

Which one gives the best directions on Chicago streets?

Tags: Apps, directions

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I've found BikeThere to be fairly reliable. It takes direction from google so every now and then I chose a slightly better route based on experience but for getting someplace I've not been before it is pretty reliable.

Google Maps. They have a web-based mobile version.

Yes, google maps is decent, but I remember hearing about a local app, developed by a Chicago cyclist.

http://massup.us/directions  (or just launch MassUp.us and tap Menu > Directions)

Uses the Google maps bicycling directions engine. Can give directions between any two points, or your current location to anywhere, or to points of interest, or to other riders, etc.

You can use GPS, or pick locations manually from maps, or from recently picked locations, or search by address or placename.  Even gives turn-by-turn and alternates.

And once you've got directions, hit Go! to ride them live by following the line.

Works on any smartphone or PC, and free.

There's also a list of other apps here.

Awesome! Thanks, Andrew! 

Note that bike "Route" is a different question.  Some of the major apps are all about planning checkpoints and generating a queue sheet.  Fellow ChainLinker Velociped.es is route oriented.  For  massup I thought the screen was too small for route maintenance, but it can import from google maps.

For Directions I just let it show Google's options with no manual tweaking options.  If I really think I know better I go my way, tap Update and it recalculates.  Worst case, the Details button from Directions goes to Google Maps with your points pre-loaded.  Google Maps webapp is awesome, but slow on my iPhone.  Whereas massup is optimized for dashboard use (I've had a handlebar mount for years).

Funny story that happens regularly, we'll be using it and I'll be like "massup says we should go left, but let's go this way..." it always ends up being a dead end or one way or some such.

If you actually try it (very few have) I'd love feedback.

Here is some feedback: consider changing the name of the app. I'd heard about it for quite a while before I had any idea what it was for. I assumed it was a Critical Mass thing. Now that I see it described I'm a lot more interested. 


Andrew Bedno said:

If you actually try it (very few have) I'd love feedback.

Years ago it was just for the mass (and naked ride), but grew.  The name's handy on smartphones because it's short and repeated letters.  But I'm constantly brainstorming for a better one.  Funny thing is, that's a hard topic to discuss publicly because you can't post things like hey BikeWebApp.com would be a great name, 'cause then someone'll instantly go snag it.  Private suggestions welcome.

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