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Started in Portland, The Ride App’s ride is over


Screenshot of Ride.App.

A popular smartphone app created in Portland that tracks cycling trips and allows users to rate their rides will shut down at the end of August. Local tech entrepreneur and CEO of Ride Report William Henderson says he’s shifted the focus of his business and Ride App isn’t in his company’s future plans.

Ride App was a free ride-tracking-and-rating app that ran on users’ Apple or Android smartphones. It would automatically (and anonymously) log bicycle trips and give users the ability to quickly rate their rides. The idea was to not only understand which bikeways people preferred, but their general level of satisfaction with them.

Ride App has recorded over 12 million miles of trips since its launch in 2015.

“Winding down the app is extremely bittersweet for me.”
— William Henderson, Ride Report CEO and co-founder

“When we started Ride Report more than 5 years ago, we had a vision to empower cities with software to get more people biking,” Henderson shared in an open letter to app users this morning. “We also created tools to cities so they could leverage anonymized data to better understand where people were biking and how they felt while riding.”

Henderson, a graduate of Reed College and creator of Knock to Unlock, turned his talents toward transportation tools in 2014. His company’s first product was a novel device for counting bicycle trips that was promising enough it caught the attention of the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation. The app was created to complement the counter. Henderson’s goal was to have thousands of “rolling bikeway evaluators” that could help cities analyze and develop new cycling infrastructure while giving users encouragement to ride more by doling out playful badges for various riding milestones.

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William Henderson during his 2018 Alice Award acceptance speech.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland).

In April 2018 PBOT purchased 200 Ride Report bicycle trip sensors and installed them all over town. Data from the Ride app was used to evaluate projects like Better Naito Forever, the Central City in Motion plan, and many others.

Henderson’s latest focus is to give cities more power to manage the mountain of data created by users of shared electric bikes and scooters. His Ride Report “micromobility management” is now used by more than 30 cities worldwide. Last November Ride Report raised $3.4 million in venture funding.

The shuddering of the Ride app is necessary so that Henderson and his growing team can focus all their energy on Ride Report. The app will be removed from the App Store and Google Play on September 1st and will no longer be supported. The company says individual user data will be destroyed from their servers and will not be sold or given to any company or third party.

“Winding down the app is extremely bittersweet for me,” Henderson shared in an email to BikePortland last week. “I’ve put a ton of time, love and money into it. I also know many community members (including many readers of BikePortland) who have been dedicated users and supporters. Thank you for all your support!”

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

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