Map My Ride – Tour Dallas

Check it out… this is a great new web site for cyclists. It was a snap to upload my GPS file and create a map to share. Below is the Tour of Dallas ride I did last weekend. The site seems to have similar features and functionality as MotionBased.com, but has this neat feature to allow display of maps within blogs and web pages. MotionBased.com seems to only provide a link, which is kinda lame.

Don’t get me wrong, MotionBased.com is a great site too and very useful for uploading rides and reviewing them in great detail, including their awesome Map Player utility (assuming you have IE 6 or 7). You can also download MotionBased.com routes to Google Earth (you can do this on MapMyRide too). Check it out, I also uploaded this ride to the MotionBased site: Tour Dallas on MotionBased.com.

Both sites also offer export options, which is nice. A great way to use your GPS to discover and try new routes. MapMyRide seems to have the upper hand in one particular area, however – their finely polished cue sheets and route maps. There are limits on printing these PDF documents for non-premium members and apparently some restrictions on distributing them for an official event or ride, which is too bad. Hopefully they’ll change that policy in the future… perhaps they could just stamp a few ads on there and let folks distribute them more freely.

Seems like it’s worth exploring both of these sites to get the best of both worlds. Fortunately, both offer free memberships. Though these free memberships impose some limitations, it seems possible to get a good feel for the site’s capabilities using the free versions.

Tour Dallas 2009!

Ok, so technically this ride was not in Massachusetts, but it was a great way for me to see a new city while I was visiting a friend and fellow cyclist in Dallas this past weekend.

First, the weather was great – 60s and sunny. The event was crowded with thousands of cyclists, but that’s ok. It wasn’t a fitness or workout ride, but rather a tourist expedition.

The largest 1-day cycling event in the area, Tour Dallas was started in 2003 by Bikin’ Mike Keel, Director of the Plano Cycling & Fitness Training Center. His vision was to create an event that inspired the inactive to become active and that facilitated more experienced cyclists to share an event with new cyclists. By all accounts this weekend, he has succeeded.

The route meandered through beautiful sections of Dallas before looping around White Rock Lake, a prominent feature of the local landscape, and favorite spot for many cyclist, joggers and walkers. To take the longer 30-mile route meant you looped the lake twice. We went around a third time for good measure and to stretch the legs a little bit before heading back into the city streets.

A grand celebration with a variety of sponsors took place on City Hall Plaza after the ride. The architecture of the plaza was remarkably similar to Boston City Hall – lacking in detail and features, but quite functional for an event like Tour Dallas.

Looks like they’re already gearing up for the 2010 ride. Check out more details at: www.TourDallas.org.