Image credit: SocialBicycles
Whether we are talking about grassroots "peer2peer" bike rental, or multi-million dollar public bike share schemes, there's no doubt that these initiatives are revolutionizing the way we think about mobility in many cities. But managing access to bikes can be an expensive headache. Luckily, the rise of mobile computing is helping out here too. One proposed scheme is looking to take wireless-enhanced social bike sharing to the next level—slashing the per-bike costs of setting up schemes like these by allowing use of 'normal' bicycles instead of purpose-built machines. Conceived by entrepreneur Ryan Rzepecki, SoBi, or the Social Bicycle System, centers around the idea of using GPS tracking, and a secure lock that can be attached anywhere, to allow bike sharing schemes to use regular bikes, and bike racks, rather than purpose-built bike sharing stations and vehicles.
The system is due to be tested in New York this Fall, and given the harsh environment for locking bikes in NYC, any potential flaws in the system should soon become apparent. Check out the video below for more on this exciting looking scheme, and if you like what you see you can vote for SoBi in the Pepsi Refresh Everything challenge to help make it a reality.