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The last bike shop I worked in was often more of a social club than a bike shop. Multiple different organized training and touring rides started and ended there. People would stop in just to hang out or meet others because it was a “cool” place. And it was cool. The ReCycle concept seems to capture some of the bike shop hang out cultural vibe. But what made the old bike shop cool was the personalities of the people involved — the shop owners and employees, the touring and racing groups, and the friends and acquaintances and customers. The shop no longer exists, and it’s not easy to recreate that community. But it is a great and worthy idea.
I love the Recycle concept. However I can understand you were looking for design mainly and not ideas outside it. Yet, its still something that should be explored. Say that we had a franchise of a community like this in every major city, kinda like Starbucks, it’d be very cool and promoting advocacy. Can existing bike share program agencies transform themselves eventually into something of the idealistic hang out spot for cyclists?
About Bikenomic by Kai Huppman : Note that I picked up on a similar concept last year by designer Amir Alizade. Read that story on my blog. His idea was called PedEarn (pedal earn explanded). It too had a device that logged the riders miles and awarded him some kind of financial stimulus for milestones.
A duplicate or a legit new idea? I’ll reserve my judgements. But suffice to say, so far I’ve been seeing concepts from your competition that someone has already chosen to explore before in a strikingly similar way. Whether these designers keep themselves informed of whats going on in other parts of the world I don’t know.
Great to see both of those ideas. And glad to see wider lifestyle and social issues being considered through design.
There’s an interesting video on one of the existing bike sharing schemes called “Paris: Vélo Liberté”, made as part of the e squared series.
One of the aspects the program mentions is social. Apparently the bike share racks are proving to be popular meeting points.
e² Series – webcasts
There are 2 things that occur to me with these concepts.
Firstly, ReCycle with its ‘Grab a bike, ride to the office, park your bike’ idea. This cycle is almost certain to be interrupted by those lovable rogues who ‘Grab a bike, throw bike in river’; especially a machine that isn’t that pretty. Secondly, Bikonomic, the mini computer will be hacked or one could ramp up the commuter miles sitting in the garage with a beer whilst spinning your bike’s front wheel.
I know I’m a cynic.
Anon, sounds like a great shop that you describe. I know a few that really have built a sense of community like that too. In those cases though, bikes are the heart of that community. For something like this to be successful, it would have to go beyond that to appeal to those commuters who don’t have that same passion for the bikes themselves.
Ron, I like the franchise idea. Regarding that PedEarn concept, it seems like a good one too. Realistically, something GPS based probably makes more sense than a device in the hub. I think the basic concept of an incentive program has been around, so I would assume these two ideas were derived independently.
Conor C, thanks for bringing up the e squared series about the Velib program. Good point about the impromptu social aspect that is mentioned in the program.
Anon, yeah, I suppose some people would cheat the system to get incentives, but probably not that many. I remember in the early nineties when Bicycling magazine had a commuter club. All you had to do was fill out the mileage of your commutes by bike to get rewards from the magazine (I forget the details). Obviously that would have been an easy system to cheat, but they probably assumed that most people wouldn’t. No reason to let the few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.
@James: Thank you for posting my idea (or someone elses… – I'll answer that later, Ron). I was pretty sure, not to win the contest (Let's face it, I'm not a designer – neither bike- nor web-) and I think the winner and also the other finalists did great jobs! I knew that I didn't really posted a design, but just an idea related to the contests topic and that's how it's treated here, so thanks again. Also thank you for the whole contest, it was a great idea a brought up a lot of other good ideas and discussions.
@Ron: Believe it or not, I never heard about that PedEarn concept before, but yes: The same great idea ;-), and he had it earlier! And it doesn't surprise me in a world where frequent buyer, flyer, whatever programs are around, that this basic idea is adopted for other areas, commercial & non-commercial by different people at the same time.
@Anon: Yes hacking could be possible but doesn't have to be easy. The other kind of cheating ("… sitting in the garage with a beer whilst spinning …") isn't possible since my system tracks speed + time + geo data and I think it's hard to fool that combination, as long as you don't take your bike on your pick up, driving with 25 km/h and letting your wife turn the front wheel of the bike (also with exactly 25 km/h)…
kai1968 : No charge. I have the memory of an elephant 😉
Well, now we all know one thing – how cutthroat the competition is in the cycling sector. It amazes me.
Anon @ 6:55pm : Hacking the computer seems like a possible scenario. I think it can be discouraged by giving people incentive for every 10 miles or so. Seriously, who is so bored to turn the wheel for that long in the garage. I’d think they would make better use of their time and minds by actually riding it. Anyway, that image brings to mind the story of this software company that agreed to pay a financial incentive to any employee for every bug they detect in their upcoming software. Overnight, an underground economy rose up, and one guy made a 1000 bucks next morning 🙂
now we’re talking.
the bikenomic idea reaches into the world of behavioral economics to come up with an incentive to get people on bicycles.
this is a stand-out idea that goes much further toward addressing the issue than the other more traditional “design” based contest submissions. there is a study recently published in jama (see link) that touches upon this area, and which found that economic incentives produce significant weight loss versus a control group. the bikenomics idea is based on the same underlying concept.
great job kai1968! the presentation of your concept wasn’t as polished as the other submissions, but the idea was much more innovative!
and i hadn’t heard about amir alizade either (imagine, there are actually people who don’t read ron’s blog! how is that possible?!)
Good replies guys. And I think you’re right, I am too cynical. On reflection, these two ideas do have more merit than I first credited them with. Well done!
Thanks for all the feedback guys. I’m glad to have stirred up some discusion here.
Conor C: Yeah I have seen the Paris:Velo Liberte, it was a good video and it offered some helpful insight which reinforced the work I was doing.
The ReCycle ended up becoming the WeCycle to relate itself as more a part of a community than a part of reusing plastic.
I have a bicycle I want to give away for parts. Everything is good except for the back gear changer. It’s been kept out of the weather for most of its 10 yr life. Schwinn ladies frame. Do you know anyone that will take it? I live in Orlando, Fl Thanks for any help.