Vancouver was an obvious choice for the North American launch of Biko; a city that seems to be the hub of everything health, fitness and overall self-improvement.
Biko’s mission is to incentivize urban cycling by offering users rewards for walking, jogging, or biking. It is the latter form from which the name is taken in the belief that the greatest impacts on global communities will come from encouraging people out of their cars and onto their bikes for their daily commutes. Since Biko’s launch in September, they have created some solid partnerships with local staples like Big Rock Urban, Modo and Two Wheel Gear; offering promotions like $25 gift card at BRU, $50 in driving credits from Modo and even $25 off a pannier from Two Wheel Gear.
Frankly, this couldn’t have come at a better time. With Vancouver’s mission to become the greenest city by 2020, Biko is a great tool to kick-start the shift in mentality that is still necessary for many.
Where it came from
The founders of Biko were born and raised in Bogota, Colombia but received their education internationally and spent many years working in some of the most progressive cities in the world. Upon their recent return to their hometown, they couldn’t believe the state of their city – pollution was at an all time high, traffic was impossible to manage and there was very little culture left after many years of unrest. They knew something had to give and quickly realized that the bicycle could solve many of the problems facing Bogota. From this came Biko.
For every kilometer that users walk, jog, or cycle they receive 1 biko point and Biko rounds up! Then, once users have accumulated some points to spend, they choose the offer or promotion they want, and head into that local business. Voila! So far, Vancouverites have logged 145,000 trips and redeemed 172,792 bikos on their favorite things including coffee, beer and tacos!
However, Biko isn’t just for the daily user but it also functions as a tool for employers to incentivize their employees to cycle to and from work. Biko sets up a workplace community, through which employees can win prizes provided by their company as a thank you for biking to work. Oxford Properties has teamed up with Biko for their first North American community campaign and employees and tenants alike will have the chance monthly to win a bike, panniers, restaurant gift cards and cinema tickets!
“Apparently rain and snow aren’t deterrents for Vancouver cyclists”, said Biko’s Country Manager Molly Millar. “We were surprised at the uptake of the app even through some pretty heavy winter weather the last couple of months.”
The reality is, we are becoming less dependent on our cars and relying heavily on transportation alternatives, like our bikes. More and more millennials are choosing to live in cities closer to where they work, giving cars less merit and making options like car sharing, walking and cycling more appealing. We evaluate our neighborhoods based on walkability, bike infrastructure and more and more often we are opting out of suburban ‘hoods. The shift to the bicycle has cyclists calling for change in urban planning responsibility, demanding that infrastructure become a priority for our municipalities. If you still need more convincing, just download Biko and be paid for making a responsible choice!
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