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Portland businesses reward riders through new ‘Biko’ smartphone app

Posted by on May 19th, 2017 at 2:44 pm

On Monday, Portlanders will be able to use a new mobile app that will make cycling even sweeter. Biko launched two years ago in Bogota, Colombia and has since spread to Medellin, Vancouver (Canada) and Mexico City. On Monday it will launch in the United States and Portland is one of the first five cities to get it (Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles are the others).

The basic idea is pretty simple: The app tracks your trips and gives you a “Biko” for every mile kilometer you ride. You can then redeem these Bikos at any number of local shops for discounts and deals. Just whip out your phone, show your screen to the cashier, and get your reward. The app already has 167,000 users worldwide.

So far the company behind the app has lined up eight partner businesses in Portland where you can use Biko currency.

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Here’s the list:

Nossa Familia
Velo Cult Bike Shop
Potato Champion
River City Bicycles
Pyro Pizza
Guardian Games
Best Friend (coffee + juice cart)
Nutcase Helmets

The app is available for both iPhone and Android.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Joe9wattsPeter WJustin MMiddle of the Road Guy Recent comment authors
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Justin M
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Justin M

How many apps are we supposed to use! Didn’t we all just install Ride Report for the bike more challenge? I’m using that and cyclemeter when I ride. I’m not using a third thing, even though this looks cool and I like discounts.

Justin M
Guest
Justin M

I didn’t know you can do that! Great tip 🙂

Adam
Subscriber

Yet another app for users to voluntarily upload their personal data to for corporations to profit off of. Who are they selling the trip data to?

J_R
Guest
J_R

Probably the IRS, NSA, DHS, the Tri-Lateral Commission, and Alco, the maker of the raw materials for tinfoil hats.

TAJ
Guest
TAJ

Emphasis on voluntary. Don’t like it? Don’t do it.

Peter W
Guest

Good question.

To some extent that’s covered in their privacy policy: https://bikoapp.com/policy.html

tl;dr: Yes, you’re buying a free app at the cost of privacy and data. Same business model as Facebook, though at least they want you sitting on a bike seat rather than in front of a computer.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Same business model as Facebook”

not sure if you intended that comparison to suggest humdrum harmlessness, but –
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/06/08/how-trump-used-facebook-to-win/

Peter W
Guest

No, I didn’t not mean to suggest harmlessness, but rather widespread use of that business model. There was a great piece (I came across previously but can’t find it right now) written back in the very early days of the web warning against allowing the advertising industry to take over one more medium but obviously … you know how that turned out.

Thanks for sharing that link about Cambridge Analytica; I’ve read about them previously but it’s unfortunate how little concern there is for what’s happening there and good to see others are sharing it.

In some ways the threat is basically Fox on steroids – the ability to make propaganda specifically tailored to people:
https://twitter.com/techieshark/status/836108512769916928

In the Obama campaigns the Dems had a decent tech advantage and used interesting techniques to maximize the reach of their TV ad spending by finding their key target audiences in niche media markets. Then Trump comes along and just dumps millions on Facebook for secret ads using the same micro-targeting features the company built with corporate advertisers in mind (so much for the Dem’s tech lead).

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Overall I think this is a great concept, though I want to try it out to see how it is in execution. I think the best way to grow cycling significantly (at least initially) is to incentivize cycling with things like this. Eventually they’ll have to do things to disincentivize driving, but I think it will get more fence-sitters to offer extra benefits like this (besides the obvious health, economical, etc.). Plus, it’s less likely to create more push-back from those who think bikes are the root of all roadway evil.

9watts
Guest
9watts
Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

I was wondering when someone would bring that up.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

O’ woe to we who don’t have a smart phone. Really, it’s nice not being in touch.

Josh
Guest
Josh

I was interested in at least checking out the route planning tools, but unfortunately there is a sign up/log in wall first thing in the app. So, deleted.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Ironic, isn’t it. Especially since it was Big Brother who killed Steve Biko.

Joe
Guest
Joe

beer bikos. yay rewards 😛