A University of Georgia graduate has launched a new website to help bicycle riders—especially tourists—navigate cities.
Bikabout.com, founded by Megan Ramey, already has maps of bike routes in Boston, where she lives. Friday, the site will add nine other cities: Athens, Madison, WI, Minneapolis, Portland, OR, Seattle, Vancouver, Chicago, Fort Collins, CO and New York City. She is touring those cities over the next six weeks by bus, train, plane and, of course, bike.
Ramey graduated from UGA in 2001.
"I totaled my car in '99, I think," she said at a promotional event Tuesday at Sandy Creek Nature Center. "I thought it was the end of the world. My dad gave me a mountain bike out of the garage, and I started biking and taking the bus everywhere. It changed the world for me. Life became more meaningful."
After graduating, Ramey moved back home to Madison, where she was impressed by the bike infrastructure and culture, then to Boston, where she was appalled. Those experiences, plus frustration will traveling by bike, led her to start bikabout.com.
The site will include maps and bike routes curated by local writers, musicians, artists, chefs and other personalities that will feature stops at local landmarks, favorite restaurants and other attractions.
It will also include events calendars and information on businesses that cater to cyclists, like Heirloom Cafe, which offers them a 15 percent discount.
"Not many people know this, so it's just promoting these businesses that do these amazing things," Ramey said.
Plus, there will be tips for cyclists using other modes of transportation. For example, it's a little-known fact the Southwest Airlines will check your bike for free, she said.
The site will be free to use. Ramey aims to make money by selling advertising and plans to donate 25 percent of profits to local charities.