Cycling Stories May 11, 2015

London’s cycle hire scheme finally gets an official Android app

Cycling is definitely the fastest and most pleasant way to get around central London, and the large-scale cycle hire scheme – informally known as Boris Bikes, after Mayor Boris Johnson who launched the scheme – finally has an official Android app.

Named after the scheme’s new sponsor, the Santander Cycles App allows users to find the nearest docking station, check availability of bikes and obtain a release code to hire one. Transport for London has long made the data publicly available, allowing developers to create their own apps with limited functionality, but it’s taken five years to create an official app that allows you to hire the bikes.

There are more than 700 Boris Bike docking stations in London, with a total of 11,500 bicycles available. More than 10 million journeys were made by Boris Bike last year. Users pay £2 ($3) for a one-day membership, and can then make unlimited use of the bikes for journeys of up to 30 minutes each (which will pretty much get you anywhere to anywhere in central London).

The app is a free download from Google play, and the full press release can be found below.

Cycling Stories July 17, 2014

Google this afternoon updated its Maps app on Android to version 8.2 with a plethora of new features, enhancements, and changes. The biggest changes come to the biking routes that Maps offers. With this update, biking routes now show elevation, including the ability to compare the elevations for various routes. This, of course, means that you can now easily tell which bike routes will be the easiest on your legs. This feature is listed as beta for now, though.

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Cycling Stories July 3, 2014

CNET reports that Samsung is partnering with bicycle manufacturer Trek and its factory race team to explore the options for integrating the company’s technology into future bicycles.

The company has begun testing some of its mobile products — such as the Galaxy S5, its Gear portfolio, and the Galaxy Note — on the Trek Factory Racing Team as they train for some of the world’s top races, such as the Tour de France. As they ride, the team will monitor their health stats, racing cadence, and speed, along with communicate about team strategies and race routes …

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Cycling Stories May 28, 2013

Six more European countries get Google Maps cycling routes

Google has introduced cycling routes to six more European countries, generating bike-friendly routes on the web version and allowing voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation in the Android app.

Cycle routes are now available in France, Ireland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Poland, bringing the total number of countries to 17. Cycle routes were launched in the USA in 2010, and rolled out to a further 10 countries last year.

Even in the USA, three years after launch, cycle routes are still officially in beta, Google warning that they may include routes not suited to cycling.

(Via Engadget.)

Cycling Stories July 11, 2012

Sustrans, a British charity promoting sustainable transport, just announced that it partnered with Google to bring cycling routes to United Kingdom-based Google Maps users.

Greener-minded Americans are quite familiar with the biking icon and its bevy of alternative transit routes, but now U.K. fans of the popular mapping app can plan their cycling trips, navigate bike lanes, and time routes on both smartphones and computers. For those unfamiliar, Google Maps offers worldwide mapping technology, directions and local business information to mobile and desktop users by way of satellite and street-level imagery and user-contributed content.

“We know how popular cycling is in London and the rest of the UK, especially ahead of a busy summer, which is why we are thrilled to bring cycling directions to Google Maps. Thanks to Sustrans, we now have thousands of miles of trails and routes, as well as bike lanes and recommended streets for cities across the country,” said Google UK Geospatial Technologist Ed Parsons.

“We’ll continue to add new trail information and urge commuters to swap their car for a bike as they can now find a convenient route that makes use of dedicated bike tracks and avoid hills whenever possible, Parsons added.

The new feature goes live today, and Sustrans is celebrating the launch with its own video, called “Lucy’s Cycling Treasure Hunt” (above).

The press release is below.

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