Rode in another city this weekend...realized that I don't have it very bad at all...-
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  1. #1
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Rode in another city this weekend...realized that I don't have it very bad at all...

    My wife had a conference in Kansas City this past weekend. I tagged along, because I've got a mtb friend in town and could get out for at least one mtb ride while the wife was in lectures.

    The mtb riding in KC is quite good. No huge hills, but plenty of smaller ones, with LOTS of chunk.

    The urban riding...I was much less than impressed. On Sunday, I rented a bikeshare bike (same company Indy uses, B-Cycle) and had a plan to ride from my hotel to a park a few miles away. First off, the bikeshare network in KC is not very well-implemented. There are stations near certain places people are more likely to want to be, like near the convention center, and a few other places. But little regard for where they might want to GO with them. The park I rode to was the National WWI memorial. It's a really neat place with a good bit to see. There was some kind of event going on with a bunch of WWI stuff, including planes. I probably could have spent a couple hours just looking around at the stuff there. But, guess what, no bikeshare station in the park! There were a couple stations around the park, but not along the paths I was riding in the park. I never really found the stations, even. So, instead of racking up fees leaving the bike locked to a railing somewhere (no bike racks), I just rode it for awhile and returned it near my hotel.

    Second, there nobody really seems to have considered the routes I might want to take to get anywhere. I pulled up Google Maps' bicycle layer. There appears to be one bike lane running N-S through downtown, but it doesn't really connect anything where I was. Otherwise, no off-street paths or lanes or anything. I was in full-on tourist mode, mostly riding at around 5mph. Sorry, but I don't think that's an appropriate speed to dive into traffic (as the stickers all over the bikeshare bike said I should be doing). So, I spent my time on the sidewalks. Which at least were plentiful in the area I was in. No idea if sidewalk riding is technically legal in KC or not, but I never got hassled over it. Many times the sidewalks were heavily obstructed, though. Outdoor dining spaces narrowed things, and then commonly the remaining space was full of scattered light poles, newspaper dispensers, electrical equipment, etc. Not the most enjoyable place to ride.

    Downtown Indy (not speaking for the suburbs) is WAY more bikeable. The Cultural Trail being the key to it all. Connects the most interesting downtown spots, including multiple greenway paths leading out into the suburbs, even. Connects to a major downtown park, museums, hotels, convention center, etc. Plus pretty plentiful bike lanes, too, if you're not quite in full touron mode.

    Looks like the suburbs of KC have a lot more available with this regard, minus the bikeshare. I think KC is doing it wrong. To be successful, the bikeshare needs infrastructure.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    I occasionally play bicycle tourist. I have had disappointing experience with Google bicycle mode though I'm happy they have it. I think the Strava Heatmap is pretty useful though there is still plenty of room for improvement. Strava Global Heatmap

    I really want that Heatmap as an overlay on my gps.

  3. #3
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Yeah, I'm aware of the heatmap. It's pretty cool. My bike advocacy organization looked at purchasing the raw data (Strava sells it, BTW) to compare it with the bike map we produce, but it's EXPENSIVE.

    And FWIW, for the kind of ride I did in downtown Kansas City, it really doesn't illustrate the types of things I was looking for very well.

    This is the route I did.

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