Thursday, 6 December 2007

An interesting map

I am a sucker for good maps. I'm not much good at reading or following them, but I live looking at them. If I had a lot of spare cash, I'd own some really old maps and have them stuck up on the walls. Screw art - a good map, a well designed and well thought out map - is something that I can look at all day.

I found this map today - it is a bike map where all the streets in an area are colour coded by their difficulty for a cyclist. I don't think it takes into account the traditional things like gradient - it uses factors like traffic density and speed, which are much more important to your average road cyclist.

If I am looking at riding along a road, I am much more interested in whether I will get hit by a car rather than whether I will be puffed at the end of the ride. I can always get off and push on the steep bits (actually, over my dead body. I will never get off and push so long as there is breath in my body).

I met a bloke recently that had been cleaned up by a drunk driver when out cycling. He woke up in hospital and was off work for months. I will have to plug him for more information over the next few months. He says he never heard the car - just woke up in bed with tubes poking out of him. I can understand that - there are a few small chunks that my brain refused to record when I got hit, and I wasn't hit by a speeding drunk.

Anyway, I like the map. Our council has published maps of what they expect the cycle system around here to look in say, 50 years, and they aren't really that useful. I like this approach - forget about worrying about putting in dedicated cycle paths and so on. Just rate the existing road system and tell cyclists the level of experience that you need for each road. There are cyclists of course who fall into the ski equivalent of double black diamond, and they can ride on freeways at high speed without many problems. I tend to avoid roads where the speed limit is over 60, unless they have a really wide shoulder that I can ride in. I just don't see the point in tempting fate, especially with so many wingnuts driving around with a mobile phone in one hand and their brain in neutral.

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