Find good routes with the new Chicago Bike Routes app from CNT’s Paul Esling

The Chicago Department of Transportation’s Chicago Bike Map is useful for finding the city’s official marked and/or signed bike routes, generally on main streets.

The Chicago Reader’s Mellow Chicago Bike Map is handy for finding low-stress cycling itineraries, mostly on side streets, if I do say so myself.

But what if you combined these two maps, sort of like chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup — would it be the bike cartography equivalent of “two great tastes that taste great together,” as the old ad used to say?

That’s what Paul Esling, a “web developer of decision-making data-rich web mapping tools” with the Center for Neighborhood Technology wanted to find out. To identify the best routes for leisurely rides, he used Mapbox, an open source mapping platform for custom designed maps, to build the Chicago Bike Routes app, which combines all the routes from both maps. The map is designed to be a reference for on-the-go smartphone navigation.

Paul just tweeted out the app yesterday, but it’s already been greeted with hosannas from local cyclists.

Check out the Chicago Bike Routes App here.