Another online cycling route finder: Bikely
Today Kent points out Bikely. Bikely is a cycling route finder that is simply a Google maps-based mashup in which cyclists can create, share, and find cycling routes. Thus far the number of quality routes is quite anemic. There are a few quality routes, but not enough to make me go back to use it. Hopefully this will change in time.
I went ahead and tested their route creation functionality, and wasn't very impressed. I went through the process and created a route for Honey Run that starts where you leave Bidwell Park, and ends at Peet's Coffee downtown. It was also the first route anyone has created for Chico - but I'm not surprised at that.
The Bikely experience is even less refined that Gmaps Pedometer, and Gmaps is still pretty rudimentary. I won't go into detail about the user experience here; I rant about user interfaces on my other blog, Push Button For. But just to use one example: Why can't I print detailed maps of a route? The printed map is the most obvious thing I can think of that would actually make Bikely useful, and it isn't there...
I will again say that the opportunity is ripe for someone to create the killer app in this space. The key is setting up an experience that is so easy - to use AND to create new routes with - that the cycling community will feel compelled to use it, and even feel like they can no longer live without it. Only then will the user base grow large enough to contribute enough content for an app like this to be truly useful. Any VC folks, feel free to get in touch. :-)
It's cool to see so many of these homegrown versions popping up though - it means someone will take it by the reigns and do things the right way!