When the thought of cycling comes to mind, it often conjures up images of muscular athletes in high-end spandex gear. However, a new mobile application is looking to change that.
Las Vegas Bikes is scheduled to make its debut this fall. It is part of the national campaign My City Bikes, which aims to address health issues such as obesity and heart disease while improving air quality through cycling.
The free app is being launched in partnership with Las Vegas Cyclery, 10575 Discovery Drive. It will provide information relevant to local and visiting cyclists, including local routes, sightseeing and tips on basic bicycle maintenance. The app will be available for iPhone and Android.
“Biking is a new and exciting way to see a new city,” said Sara Villalobos, community outreach director for My City Bikes. “The benefits of biking can be felt even (when it is) done moderately. Just keep moving — little things like biking to the grocery store or a friend’s house make a difference. You do not have to go all the way.”
There are 15 U.S. cities with a My City Bikes app, including Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix and San Diego. Villalobos explained that although all the apps are presented in the same format, their surroundings automatically make them different from each other.
“While each app has the same uniform presentation for continuity, each app has very different functionality and content depending on its location,” she said.
For Jared Fisher, owner of Las Vegas Cyclery, teaming up with My City Bikes is about making sure people enjoy the city in ways that they think they might not.
“Vegas is different than what most think. There are a lot of families with children here,” he said. “Communities have built bike lanes, and we might as well use them.”
For those scared of cycling in the heat, the app is equipped with a heat monitor that gives suggestions on how much water to drink given current temperatures.
Villalobos said the app has received a warm response from the cities where it has already launched.
“It has been amazing; people are very excited to have this resource, and they want it in their communities,” she said. “We just want people riding bikes and to get them comfortable with it.”
Fisher said he hopes more people will feel confident cycling around town.
“We are looking to build more awareness so that people can travel safely around town,” he said. “Las Vegas is a great town to bike in.”
For more information or to download the app, visit mycitybikes.org.