The premise of a mellow bike map is that biking on side streets is safer and more comfortable than biking on commercial arteries, whether or not they have bike lanes.
Bike lanes on big streets are prioritized in a number of different ways. Google Maps weights them heavily in its bike directions, for example, and bikeability indexes like the Bike Score often consider mileage of bike lanes to be a proxy for bike safety. However, in the absence of full protection via concrete barriers, bike lanes on commercial arteries encourage cyclists to share crowded roads with loud, dirty, high-speed traffic.
Based on John Greenfield's Mellow Chicago Bike Map, this site instead emphasizes a different kind of street as the ideal bike route: side streets that are low-speed, infrequently used, and that feature traffic calming infrastructure like speed bumps and roundabouts.
John produced the original Mellow Chicago Bike Map by crowdsourcing mellow routes from friends who live in different Chicago neighborhoods. He was gracious enough to allow us to adapt the routes to form the database for this site. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Do you think our map is missing a good route? Or do you want to bring Mellow Bike Map to your city? Get in touch with us on Twitter and we'd be glad to help.