We get a lot of press releases around here, especially in this day and age when a new smartphone app is launched in Vancouver almost every day, but this one really caught our attention. Why? because some of our staff are cycling enthusiasts who ride to campus every day, so when we heard that a new app was launching in Vancouver that lets you trade the kilometres you ride for rewards redeemable at participating local businesses, we were stoked. We took Biko out for a test spin that day and have never looked back. With such cool partners as Big Rock Urban Brewery and the Vancouver Art Gallery, it’s been a lot of fun cashing in on an activity that already keeps us healthy and happy. Plus, there’s even the option to donate your points towards local charities, so you can really feel good about taking one more car off the streets. (Note: this is not sponsored content, we just really like the app!)
We caught up with Biko’s Vancouver City Manager, Molly Millar to get even more info on the revolutionary new way to add more reward to your ride.
Tell us more about the Biko app:
MM: Biko is a mobile app that rewards people for biking around their city. You track your cycling trips within the the Biko app and earn bikos for kilometres cycled. In fact, Biko awards people 1 biko for every kilometre cycled. You can then exchange your bikos for perks, discounts and promotions from local partners.
Does it use all my data though?
The app does not use data while your biking. You can earn bikos anywhere in the world but have to find cities where we have partners established to exchange your bikos.
How does it know if I’m biking? Couldn’t I just use it while driving?
Our algorithm takes three factors into account to determine whether a user is biking or in a motor vehicle. The first is the rate of acceleration over the first 20 metres of the trip. The second is speed over total trip. If someone exceeds 36km/hr for 15% of total trip or more, they are flagged as motor vehicles. The third is activity information taken from the Health App on iPhones and Androids.
Biko can help the City of Vancouver achieve it’s goal of being the Greenest City by 2020
What other cities use Biko?
Biko is currently live in 4 cities including: Bogata, Medellin, Mexico City and Vancouver. We have plans to expand to 40+ cities in the next 3 years. Since launching, Biko has gained 75,000 users who have earned almost 9 million bikos and collectively slashed 1,008 tons of carbon emissions. We firmly believe that Biko can help the City of Vancouver achieve it’s goal of being the Greenest City by 2020 by motivating Vancouverites to cycle more often.
How is the Biko model different than other similar apps?
There are many companies whose core business is tracking apps, and many more businesses who are in the business of loyalty programs, but we are the first to combine the two to reward people for biking.
I want the Biko partner offering to be so complete, it becomes a way of life for Vancouver cyclists.
What kind of partners are you looking for?
Biko’s partners play such an important role because, via the rewards offered, they motivate and encourage our users to hop on their bikes and pedal towards a smarter, better and greener Vancouver. I’ll know Biko is a success when a friend tells me that they did a little shopping, went to a museum, enjoyed a couple happy hour drinks and went out for dinner using Biko at each and every establishment. I want the Biko partner offering to be so complete, it becomes a way of life for Vancouver cyclists.
How can other businesses become partners?
If a business is interested in learning more about becoming a Biko partner, the best thing they can do is contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tell us about the charity aspect, BIKOS FOR CHANGE:
BIKOS FOR CHANGE was a month long charity competition, sponsored by Pacific Blue Cross. For one month, seven fantastic local charities urged Vancouverites to earns bikos and then donate their bikos to the charity of their choice. At the conclusion of the contest, each charity earned a piece of the $25,000 depending on the number of bikos donated to them.