Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Car-Free Day 2015, Helsinki

Helsinki's oldest pedestrian street at the car-free day 2015

Friday, 23 January 2015

Four Services That Make Cycling Less Adventurous, One Service That Makes You Ride (And One Pretender)

When I bike I like it mostly simple: one gear, proper lights, mudguards, no device that would tell me speed, heart-rate, cadence, burned calories, position ….
On the other hand,there are some electronic services I'm really happy about:
  1. The rain-radar. There are these days, when you have no clue how the weather will be in the next ten minutes. The rain-radar helps to catch a slot with a good chance for a dry ride home. If the clouds come fast you have to pedal a little bit harder.
  2. The cycling route planner. There are of course many options: Google or open source and community driven, but in Helsinki I can rely on the services of the regional transportation agency. As long as I can't trust in a logically built cycling path network, it's good to check in advance the best choice according to my preferences (the shortest, mostly paved or preferably separate cycling paths).
  3. This leads directly to two other electronic helpers that could be obsolete, if there would be a wider agreement that the bicycle is a means of transport (and not only a toy for a stroll on a sunny day).
    Screenshot of the strava heat map
  4.  The strava heat map. Here I can benefit from the thousands of kilometre ridden and tracked by other cyclists. The following screen-shot shows nicely: if you would be forced to do these type of awkward detours, you rather look for a different route.
  5. The snowplow information. This is actually a feature of the route planner. Here I can check, which route the snowplow took after the latest pinch of snow. Ok, this data is not totally reliable, but it is a good start.
  6.  The kilometre challenge (kilometrikisa). Here, small informal teams (colleagues, friends, families) compete for the most ridden kilometres. There's a summer and a winter edition of the competition. It's all not that serious, but a little bit of competition can make me ride the extra-kilometre, when the bus, tram or taxi (or any other motorized vehicle) or the cosy sofa at home are just too tempting.
Screenshot of the cycling route planner showing the paths that were maintained in the last 24 hours

… and then there are these little electronic “helpers” that I would count as an attempt to ridicule cyclists.