Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

‘Bike Fun Finder’ app aims to make cycling more social

Posted by on June 20th, 2013 at 11:07 am

The creators of Bike Fun Finder (L to R): Tim
Neuwerth, Lance Poehler, Nathan Frost.
(Photo courtesy Nathan Frost)

With Pedalpalooza — and its nearly 300 bike rides and events happening this month — as its centerpiece, Portland’s vibrant social cycling scene is hard to beat. But while there’s a ton “bike fun” in this town, it can be difficult to keep track of it all. Now a trio of local software pros have put their heads together to create Bike Fun Finder, a smartphone app aimed at making it easier to find and create bike events or even track them down once they’ve started.

The Bike Fun Finder (BFF) team is made up of: 32-year-old Lance Poehler, a software engineer at Jama Software; 25-year-old Nathan Frost, a software developer for Liberty Mutual; and 30-year-old Tim Neuwerth, a software engineer at eBay.

“The BFF will help bikes of all sizes (and the people that ride them) meet friends, neighbors, and explore the city they ride in,” reads the app’s website. “We strive to create a bridge between social media and a real social city.”

Screen shot of ride tracking feature.

It’s also got a ride calendar.

Reached via email yesterday, Poehler says he came up with the idea for the app during a recent trip to San Francisco. “I really wanted to go on a bike ride. I was aware of a ride called the Butterlap, but not much more. I ended up not getting out for any bike fun solely because I wasn’t ‘in the know’. I figured there had to be a better way.” When he got home, Poehler started to tinker with code to design the tool he could have used in San Francisco, then he partnered up with friends after a few months of development.

“The Portland bike scene has been incredible for me. It has helped me make so many friends and develop a closer connection to the city.”
— Nathan Frost on what inspired him to help create Bike Fun Finder.

Nathan Frost said he was “sold right away” on the idea for the app, which he describes as, “A tool for sharing your rides location so other people can search and find it.”

The basic idea of the app is that users can find rides near them, create a ride, publicize it to other users, and broadcast their location once the ride begins. “We imagine big rides having a lot of people sharing the location advertising the size and attracting more people. We also plan on making it easy to share the ride through web links, for people who do not have the app installed.”

With plenty of rides still left on the Pedalpalooza calendar, this app will help more folks join in the fun. The BFF crew says their next goal is to make some updates and refinements to the app for Velopalooza (Vancouver’s version of Pedalpalooza) and other bike fun festivals.

“The Portland bike scene has been incredible for me. It has helped me make so many friends and develop a closer connection to the city,” says Frost, “I really hope to see this start getting used widely so I can go to another city and see what is going on or get something started.”

The app is currently free and available on the Android platform (in the Google Play store) and should be available for iPhones any day now. See more screenshots, download the app, and consider dropping the BFF crew a donation at BikeFunFinder.com.

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  • Lance Poehler June 21, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Thanks for the plug. I hope to see everyone out and about on a bike!

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  • Peter W June 21, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Cool! I’d be very interested in seeing this work for Walktober (pedalpalooza of walking – http://walktoberpdx.org). Is there a github repo?

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  • Lance Poehler June 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    We may branch into Walk Fun in the future but for now we are sticking to Bike Fun

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  • Joe Gallegos June 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    This app works anywhere, right? It’s not strictly for Portland? I live in Albuquerque, NM and such an app would go a long way to promoting more social rides.

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    • BFF June 22, 2013 at 1:46 am

      You are absolutely correct Joe. BFF is made for any city and any where. Once a ride has been created in a Albuquerque, BFF will remember that city and return all Albuquerque rides for people living in Albuquerque. Post your rides through BFF and start some fun!

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    • Lance Poehler June 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

      You are correct Joe. Simply create a ride in Albuquerque and from then on out when you or anyone else from Albuquerque opens BFF, they will default to seeing rides from Albuquerque! Create your own rides and have some bike fun.

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  • fiets503 June 22, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Seems ironic that the photos above show an iPhone but it is only available on Android right now? Or did I miss something?

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    • BIKELEPTIC June 22, 2013 at 10:56 am

      it will be available on iPhone any day now. It’s done and just waiting for Apple approval! We’re all holding our shiny phones in annnnticcip-p-pation

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  • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
    Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 25, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Loving the Sprocket Podcast reference in the app description on the Play Store.

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    • Lance P. September 25, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      Hey Michael. Could you email me a high resolution copy of the image of Nate, Tim, and myself? I’m going to use it for a presentation coming up soon.

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