Q&A: How bikes meet tech in Austin, Portland’s chillest sister city

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Nate McGuire of Austin bike-tech startup Spokefly.
(Photo by Michael Andersen/BikePortland)

Nate McGuire is part of two worlds that Austin, Texas, is still pretty new at: digital entrepreneurship and biking.

His startup, Spokefly, uses a mobile app and combination U-locks to turn people’s underused bicycles into income-generating shared bikes that float around the city until their owners need them. (At that point, the company will fetch it and deliver it home.) Though it’s not yet available in Portland, he’s preparing to launch in a handful of cities soon and was in town last week to scope our city out.

When he stopped by BikePortland’s office for a talk, we saw a perfect chance to hear more about biking and related issues in one of the U.S. cities that Portland most resembles in size, culture and reputation.

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Apple looks to make bikes ‘Smart’

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“The patent also states that an iPhone or iPod could be used to automatically or in response to a user instruction, record video, audio, or take photographs reflecting the course…”

[H/T to @dontbecreepy on Twitter via 9 to 5 Mac]

The Patently Apple blog shared information today about a patent application from Apple that details development of a “Smart Bicycle System.” Here at BikePortland headquarters we recently received a GPS unit to try out from the folks at Strava, developers of an online tool that lets people share and compare their routes and times.

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Local rides, now beamed to your iPod

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The open road, now available your iPod.

We’re big fans of the Rubber to the Road books, which exquisitely detail some of the best road rides in the Portland region. Back in March, we shared how they leapt from the bookshelf onto the web. Now, publisher River City Bicycles has teamed up with Portland-based TimeStream Software to take that idea one step further.

44 routes from Rubber to the Road are now available as interactive route guides that can be beamed to your iPod. And the best part — according to the founder of TimeStream Software, the Portland-based company that developed the technology — is that anyone can share photos and route information of their favorite ride, and then upload it for others to use.

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The ‘Cycle Tracks’ iPhone app: Let’s bring it to Portland!

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Screenshot of Cycle Tracks.
(See more below)

This morning I learned about a new iPhone app called Cycle Tracks. Created by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the app uses GPS to record bicycle trips, display maps of rides, and most importantly, logs all the information with transportation planners for use in evaluating current and future routes.

The app looks really sharp and the best part is that it can be used in any locale. We’ve already starting getting in touch with its developers and hopefully we can make this thing work in Portland.

For more, here’s what the San Francisco Chronicle said about it this morning:

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