Self-Guided Tours?

We noticed this article about a new electric bike store in Franklin, TN. Electric bikes are great and really seem to finally be coming into their own. They have the potential to be a huge contributor to solving transit and gridlock issues, especially in cities like Austin.

It looks like tours of downtown Franklin will be offered soon. But, here’s what really caught our eye, “For those who want to take their time, she said, she’s aiming to develop a self-guided tour app.” We’ve been thinking about this idea recently and haven’t yet seen a real city bike tour app. Sure, there’s all manner of MapMyRide, Strava, and some distance touring support apps. But so far, we’re not aware of an app for a city tour. (Well, maybe, this one is close: )  But, it certainly makes sense for an on-demand, labor/cost saving move for local bike rental shops (or even bike share). More tour options should be possible. And flexibility would prevail, riders could make side trips or even break a tour up across multiple days. For that matter, the tour app itself could be flexible and configurable: “What would you like to do next, see the Eiffel Tower or stop for a coffee?”.

But, is there a downside? One or two riders using an app would miss out on the group camaraderie and the charm of the tour guide. Smaller groups using a device could be less safe, focusing on a device and losing the visual impact to drivers of a larger group of cyclists. And what of the apres-ride chat about that great restaurant or club?

What do you think?  We see a place, maybe in smaller towns, for tour apps.  But we don’t want to lose the traditional city bike tour.