mobile apps

State’s ORcycle app is now a one-stop shop for reporting road safety issues

by on November 19th, 2015 at 8:35 am

orcycle screenshot
A screenshot from the
ORcycle app.

If you run into a bike safety problem in Oregon and own a smartphone, you no longer need to know who to complain to.

The ORcycle mobile app, a partnership between the Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland State University, has just been hooked up directly to the state’s “Ask ODOT” hotline, which has pledged to forward all reports it receives about bike safety issues to the appropriate local agency — or to its own team, if the road is owned by ODOT.

It’s a huge leap for the project, which has existed in demo form for a year but has been little-used because any reports were stashed for weeks or months under PSU’s supervision rather than piped directly to ODOT, let alone forwarded to other agencies.

Now, however, the free app has been integrated directly into the state agency’s operations.


Wilsonville company promises ‘perfect shifting’ from phone app and hardware combo

by on May 5th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

OTTO Photo Shoot Freddy
The smartphone camera uses the targets on the
gauges to create 3-D models of your gearing.
(Photos courtesy OTTO DesignWorks)

The rising tide of products that combine physical objects with mobile apps has come to do-it-yourself bike maintenance.

OTTO DesignWorks, a startup based a few miles south of Portland in Wilsonville, says its first product will offer “perfect shifting in under five minutes” for people with Shimano and SRAM 9-, 10- and 11-speed gear cassettes.

As the video below shows, the company sells gauges that can be attached to a cassette and derailleur. Its free mobile app then uses a smartphone camera and photogrammatry — the mathematically intensive process of turning images into three-dimensional modeling — to diagnose the situation and walk someone through the tuning process.


Bike-to-transit mobile trip planner launches in Portland

by on June 17th, 2014 at 9:24 am

nimbler screenshots

A free app that uses the open-source software behind TriMet’s much-heralded Trip Planner has just brought multimodal trip planning to Portland iPhones.

Nimbler, a California-based startup that already has similar apps in place for San Francisco and Washington DC, combines public transit schedules, bike routes and (in other cities) bike share station info to make it easy to combine bike and transit trips.


Rent a bike near you with Spinlister’s new iPhone app

by on July 15th, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Bikes listed in Spinlister’s mobile app.

A year-old service that lets you rent bikes from ordinary people has new ownership, a new iPhone app and quite a few bikes for rent in Portland.

For locals, the best thing about this service is that it’s an easy way to track down the sort of bike (or bike accessory) that you might need occasionally. For example, here in town you can find a bakfiets cargo bike for $25 a day, a tallbike for $15 a day, a big bike trailer for $18 a day, a folding bike for $11 a day, a tandem for $25 a day, a two-bike hold-up rack for $25 a day and a Burley tag-a-long for $20 a day.

It’s obviously of potential use to tourists, too.

The nice thing about Spinlister’s iPhone app is that it autodetects your location, making it easier to locate the nearest bike or input the location of one you’re preparing to list for rental to others. The startup promises an Android app to match in “fall 2013.”


Forthcoming mobile app helps plan ‘bike + transit’ trips

by on June 27th, 2013 at 10:10 am

A sample Nimbler trip in San Francisco.
(Images courtesy Nimbler.)

A new, free iPhone app that lets you plan crosstown trips that combine transit, personal bicycle and bikeshare is preparing to launch in Portland, its creator says.

The startup, Nimbler, launched its first app in the Bay Area last year and plans to add Washington D.C. in early July.

“Portland is next on our list because of the strong bicycling and transit community there and the commitment of Portland and Oregon to open data,” said CEO John Canfield, who describes himself as a “transit rider and occasional recreational bicyclist.” “But we do not yet have a timeframe.”

If multimodal trip planning software sounds familiar, it should: Nimbler is actually built using the open-source software developed primarily by TriMet two years ago as part of its web-based multimodal trip planner.