New mobile application Biko is on a mission to pay Vancouver cyclists by turning kilometres biked into rewards earned from local businesses. By downloading the free app on their smartphones, users can earn a digital coin called “biko” for every kilometre they pedal. Bikos can then be exchanged for goods and services from participating businesses or donated as cash to the user’s charity of choice.
“We want to help further Vancouver’s goal of becoming the greenest city by 2020,” says Emilio Pombo, Biko co-founder. “Incentivizing cycling through rewards can help reduce the city’s carbon emissions and we have the data to prove it. By choosing to ride their bicycles, our users have collectively reduced carbon emissions by 1,008 tonnes.”
The race to become the greenest city in the world is a friendly but fierce competition. According to the Vancouver Economic Commission, Vancouverites’ strong connection to the outdoors provides a unique competitive advantage in a world struggling to deal with environmental issues. Vancouver is leading the charge in transitioning to a green, low-carbon future, with 50% of all trips done by walking, biking or transit.
Other features on the app include mapping routes, measuring average speed, calculating carbon emissions saved, and recommending safe bike paths and local bike shops. This also allows Biko to offer a valuable data on urban biking behaviour to city planners looking to increase bike lanes and facilitate safe cycling.
“In Bogota, Medellin and Mexico City, Biko has garnered 74,088 users who have cycled 7,759,000 kilometres, which is the equivalent of 194 trips around the world,” says Pombo. “We also know which routes our users take and this information can help cities increase public safety by building bike lanes where it makes most sense.”
Started by entrepreneurs Enrique Cuellar, Emilio Pombo, Tomas Bleier in their native city of Bogota, Colombia, Biko saw immediate success and now has a network of over 100 companies offering special deals for users in Latin America—from restaurants to gyms, pharmacies, book shops, movie theatres, supermarkets and more.
“Additionally, we are looking to expand partnerships with local businesses who share our passion for social impact,” says Pombo. “Currently, Vancouver users can redeem their bikos at Big Rock Brewery, Two Wheel Gear, Bike Doctor, Reckless Bike Stores, Zend Conscious Lounge, Rocanini, The Burrard and the Vancouver Art Gallery and we’re expecting to add more partners every week.”
Biko will be announcing a charity competition powered by Pacific Blue Cross this September. To experience Biko, visit biko.com.co/en or download the app, available for Apple and android devices.
Biko is building greener, smarter and happier cities by rewarding urban cyclists with positive experiences. Biko aims to improve the quality of life in cities by finding technology based solutions to environmental, health, transportation and mobility challenges. To learn more, visit biko.com.co/en
About the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan
The Greenest City 2020 Action Plan is the City of Vancouver’s road map, outlining ten goal areas and 15 measurable targets to guide Vancouver toward becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020. To learn more, visit http://ift.tt/2boiODG