Returning from a bike journey rarely goes without its share of bad news. After a wonderful 3100 km tour along the Baltic Sea coast, through Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden, I started mapping the itinerary in order to publish it here. Unfortunately, I discovered that bikemap “updated” the route editor and that the new version is not working properly – to be short.
As this is far from being the first time long-term bikemap users face such a disappointment, I wrote an email to the support team and posted a reaction on a discussion thread in the Help Center – which later suddenly disappeared…
I won’t write more about this here but would like to encourage all visitors who also use bikemap.net to contact the team and ask for a quick restore of the previous very efficient and faultless route editor. More details can be found in the copy of my last message to bikemap team (sent August 23rd, 2019), which I paste hereunder.
Text of my last message to bikemap team (or read it online here)
A recent discussion thread entitled “Issues with the latest route editor” has been deleted from the Help Center although its content was of greatest importance to all bikemap users struggling with the unfinished, poorly tested and very bugged new route editor.
I’m not joking – the URL was : https://help.bikemap.net/hc/en-us/community/posts/360033370034-Issues-with-the-latest-route-editor
Several users reported the difficulties which arose following the so-called “update” of the route editor in late June or July 2019.
Before that unconsidered action, the route editor was WORKING PERFECTLY and meeting all users’ needs for a RELIABLE and EFFICIENT route recording tool. This painfully reminds long-term users several previous disastrous bikemap “site updates” which ended in loss of user data and countless hours of bug reporting…
In the above mentioned deleted discussion thread, the last post was from bikemap Help Center and said (I copy from my email) :
“We are constantly trying to improve our application. With the new route editor some things changed. Especially for our long term and very loyal users this update might not meet their expectations.
Since we released the update, we were constantly improving the functionality and hereby reacted to user feedback. Among others, we for example increased the number of waypoints on the route and managed to improve the overall performance of the editor, which leads to way faster loading. Indeed some issues still exist: the new editor doesn’t support old browser versions or operating systems anymore – the gray screen will appear. In this case we are sorry to tell you that, in order to use the editor, you might consider upgrading your system.
With further updates, we will keep on working on the editor. Feedback from our users is very valuable because it tells us in which area we have to work even harder.
Big thanks to the community to be so active and enthusiastic – we promise, give our best!” (end of quote)
The question of loss of compatibility with older operating systems and browsers has another name : PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE. “Upgrading an operating system” on a single machine is not possible, due to software compatibility issues, hence we talk of changing the machine itself. But in the days of global warming, resource depletion and uncontrolled proliferation of waste, would it be responsible to replace a well working machine which has a “life expectancy” of around 15 to 20 years – before it really dies ? The answer is clearly NO and I thought a team promoting sustainable mobility would at least share this opinion and ensure durable compatibility with proven older OS.
Furthermore, I do not understand which “improvement” you’re talking about when we all experience a very faulty editor, not worth half the performances of the former version. Although I know it is a habit of our time to affirm things that do not match reality, I don’t consider this as fair towards users.
Want details ? I tested the editor on a borrowed Windows 10 machine, and here is what I found out.
1) With the previous editor, you could left-click on any part of the route and pull it to another position between two already recorded waypoints. This isn’t possible anymore, as no new waypoint can be inserted on a previously recorded section. If you want to modify a section you now have to DELETE all further waypoints and start again from that point.
2) With the previous editor, you could switch several times between the magnet tool and the freehand tool in a single route without any problem. The route did stick to official roads with the magnet tool and roam wherever you wanted with the freehand tool. Now, switching back to the magnet tool after a section recorded with the freehand tool spoils your work : a few days back, the section recorded with the freehand tool was just moved back on the road, as if I had used the magnet tool. I lost 10 km or so. Today, it’s even worse, no matter the alleged work to improve the editor since our messages to the Help Center : when returning to the magnet tool after 10 km drawn with the freehand tool, 200 km of carefully hand-recorded route was lost. Just gone ! What an improvement, indeed ! Of course, I did not save this mess…
3) With the previous editor you could right-click on the route to deactivate it and start a new unconnected section. This was very useful to record longer journeys, in which public transport has been used as connection. Possibility lost with the last version.
4) When switching from Basic to Google Maps or Google Hybrid, the route gets totally “disconnected” from the map layer : the track is displayed on a random map and you can move it around as you want but the map doesn’t follow (see screenshot).
I did not test any further as I have better things to do, but I’m sure we could add more bugs to that list.
Reference of testing route : https://www.bikemap.net/en/r/5211958/ (private)
Now, please tell me : would any SERIOUS person call this mess an improvement ? Is it so difficult to thoroughly test a major update before imposing it to users without any possibility to revert to the faultless previous version ? How can we trust your words (“give our best”, “made with love”) when we face such a disappointing result ? And why don’t you allow users to report bugs, express their concern, worries or anger on a dedicated forum thread after you deprived them of a very efficient tool ? Fearing a tsunami of criticism ?
A website like bikemap should be staffed (or at least headed) by cyclists. Because true cyclists want to spend their time out in nature, cycling, not sitting in front of a computer. And if they agree to share their routes with others, hoping to get more people on a bicycle and less in bloody cars or planes, their work is most of the time 100% volunteer and as such deserves respect. Now, if the tool they were using doesn’t work anymore or repeatedly requires hours of bug reporting, they will give up and turn back to bike only – and the web will get a bit closer to become the “ugliest place on Earth”…
So, may I suggest that we organize a crowdfunding action in order to offer bicycles to the geeks and tech guys who once again brought the mess into bikemap ?
Thank you in advance for your attention and TRUE efforts to fully restore the possibilities and performances of previous route editor.
dedicated cyclist and loyal user of bikemap since 2011 (158 hand-recorded routes, among which several long distance journeys)
www.europebybike.info (100% non-commercial website)