Video Of The Day: ‘Line Of Sight’ Trailer From The 2012 Bicycle Film Festival

While most eyes are on the Tour de France, there’s a much more intriguing form of cycling that’s quickly becoming a phenomenon: underground bicycle messenger racing.

Yes, it’s a real thing, and it appears to be spreading. Filmmaker Lucas Brunelle spent more than a decade profiling and documenting messenger cultures around the world, and he recently released “Line of Sight,” a 60-minute documentary film that premiered Saturday at the 2012 Bicycle Film Festival in New York City. According to the description:

This is bike riding like you’ve never seen before, in gripping first-person perspective through the most hectic city streets, on expressways in Mexico City, over the frozen Charles River, under the Mediterranean Sea, across the Great Wall of China and deep into the jungles of Guatemala.

Sounds much more gripping than the winding, tree-lined roads of France.

Photo of the day- Bicycles in Copenhagen

This photo of bicycles in Copenhagen, Denmark shot in June with a Sony DSLR A-700 comes from Flickr user justchuckfl who tells us:

“In Copenhagen, you will see many historical buildings as well as some modern architecture. This image was captured through the window of a tour bus and shows the ever present bicycles that you will see everywhere in Denmark.”

See more of justchuckfl’s Copenhagen photos too, there are a bunch of good ones.

Did you know you can get an idea of how these great Photos of the Day were created by clicking on the device used to capture them? Exif data is a record of the settings a camera used to take a photo or video embedded into the files the camera saves and Flickr displays it for us to see.

Not sure what ISO, aperture, metering and all that photography lingo means? Gadling’s Dana Murph does and breaks it down for us in a series of Travel Photo Tips.

Got an image you’d like to show off to the world? Submit it to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. It might just get chosen as a future Photo of the Day.

How to Navigate Washington, D.C. Without Going Nuts

I’ve been on the road for more than a month, and here’s my number one tip: Don’t drive in Washington, D.C. Nightmare would be a measure too generous.

As soon as I could park my ride, I did, content to not touch it until I pulled out of the District two days later. And considering the byzantine fare structure and bizarre routing of the Metro, it’s something I avoid, too. Here’s a better idea.

Trade four wheels for two: Rent a bike. While you can certainly walk the city-getting to your destination eventually-it’s much easier to just pedal there, particularly in the summer, when temperatures in Washington hit roughly “surface of the sun” levels. Best to limit your exposure by riding where you’re going in a hurry.

The newest option in town is the Capital Bikeshare program. Another in a growing list of bike-sharing efforts around the world modeled on Paris’ Velib, the initiative is open to visitors because it offers 24-hour and five-day “memberships.” Any riding up to 30 minutes is free after that, with longer rides racking up bigger bills. (The clock resets each time you dock your bike, so it’s possible to do the whole day for five bucks.)

But the claim that Capital Bikeshare “puts 1,100 bicycles at your fingertips” is a stretch at best: On the occasions that you actually stumble across a station, there’s no guarantee you’ll actually find one to ride. A couple of smartphone apps have been developed to help with this problem, but they’re not foolproof yet.

The easier solution is to buy some convenience with a Bike and Roll rental. You’ll pay a little bit more, but you’ll have the same ride all day-and ditch the hassle of looking for docking stations while on the clock. With your bike dialed in, you’ll actually want to ride from the Capitol all the way down to the new Martin Luther King, Jr. monument that’s scheduled to open to the public before the end of summer.

London starts bike hire scheme

Transport for London is responsible for the arduous task of getting millions of Londoners around this giant city every day. Besides the Tube, bus, and Docklands Light Rail, they’ve added a new service–public bicycles.

Similar to public bike programs in other cities, people can get a bike at one of the self-service docking stations. You don’t have to be a UK resident to use one, but residents can buy an annual membership and get discounts. You can pay by cash, card, or online. You have to pay for an access fee as well as the bike itself. If, for example, you are in London for a day, you can buy a day’s access for £1 ($1.56) and hire the bike for up to six hours for £35 ($55), or a full day for £50 ($78). That’s expensive, but it wouldn’t take many taxi rides to equal that.

Actually the program is more designed for short rides. Journeys under half an hour are free and an hour only costs £1. You can cycle pretty much anywhere in central London in an hour. Users should be aware that London traffic is very busy and people who aren’t accustomed to cycling in big cities should probably give this a miss. The scheme is partially funded by Barclay’s bank and each bike sports an ad for Barclay’s.

Photo courtesy Transport for London.

Google maps adds bicycle navigation feature on Android phones

Google Maps with navigation is one of the more powerful selling points of the Android platform. The navigation features within Google Maps are absolutely fantastic – but best of all, they are free.

This afternoon, Google issued a market update that adds bicycle directions to its app. This means you can now get driving, walking, public transit and cycling directions from within Google maps.

To get the new features, just allow Google Maps to download its update and pick your transportation method in the navigation screen. Of course, you may want to invest in a bike mount for your phone. At the moment, bike directions are only available within US based maps, but knowing Google, this may make its way abroad pretty soon.

Other new features include the ability to share your location through email, messaging or Twitter (in addition to Google Latitude) and a new quick-launch navigation icon for your program launcher.