Bike for beer: App rewards users for active lifestyle
Published Tuesday, August 23, 2016 8:34AM PDT
A tech startup from South America aims to help Vancouver reach its goal of becoming the world’s greenest city, by rewarding people for physical activity.
Biko, which originally launched in Colombia and has since spread to Mexico City, is primarily focused on cycling, but also works when people jog, walk or skateboard.
Vancouver is the first city in Canada or the United States to get the app.
"Vancouver definitely leads the way in active lifestyle. And we're leading North American cities in terms of commutes by bike,” said Molly Millar, Biko’s city manager for the Vancouver launch.
The app uses GPS to track people as they move across the city and offers up rewards based on distance travelled.
"At the end of the day what we are looking for is greener, smarter and happier cities and all that happens when you move around on bikes,” said Emilio Pombo, one of the app’s three co-founders.
For every kilometre a user cycles, they are rewarded with one Biko which can be redeemed at partner businesses that include bike shops, cafes, even a brewery.
"We get a lot of bike traffic as is and I think this just incentivizes it and makes it a lot more fun for those people that are already out and on their bikes. People love riding their bikes in Vancouver,” said Jean-Michel Pelland, operations manager at Big Rock Urban Brewery where 100 Bikos gets you a $25 gift card.
Biko already has seven partners in Vancouver and hopes to expand to at least 15 in time for the app’s official launch next month.
In the meantime, anybody who downloads Biko can start collecting points right away.
"The Vancouver Art Gallery that we're standing right beside is becoming a partner of Biko,” said Pombo.
In Colombia and Mexico City where the app is already live, Biko has more than 100 partners including credit card companies and airlines, and users have ridden 7.8-million kilometres.