Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Own Your Town

Get as large-scale of a map as you can of your town and a writing implement. Bike a street, draw it in.

I started this in Santa Cruz last May, and by the end of that month had been to probably 99% of the streets west of the river. (More than the above picture, which was as of May 25th.) If you're like me, you'll get a compass and draw circles in half-mile increments from critical points. I could (and will) talk more about the theoretical underpinnings of the project because let's face it, it's in my nature, but it's still a fun way to figure out how your environment fits together, where the shortcuts are, and to know where the most random little corners of your world are--or at least as far as the road network can take you in pursuit of those goals.

I've got to get going on the east side once the rains cease.


qk said...

this is awesome. I'm definitely doing this in the next town I move to. (My current town isn't very amenable to biking. sigh.)

Andrew said...

Interesting corollary: I know Santa Cruz on this level better than Burlington.

Interesting practical application: when you're doing something semi-sketchy (riding in the left lane to anticipate a left turn at midnight) and are startled by a cop, when they for some reason don't immediately turn around and pull you over you can disappear into a twisty maze of residential streets and get home without resorting to the sorts of main thoroughfares they'd be looking for you on.

Not that I'd do such a thing, naturally.

qk said...

right, of course not. =)