Vancouver was an obvious first choice for the North American launch of Biko; a city that seems to be the hub of everything health, fitness and overall self-improvement. Now the app has announced their official US launch in five major west coast cites – Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
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. After downloading the free app on their smartphones, users can immediately begin earning a digital currency called bikos – with one kilometer equal to one biko – which can be redeemed with Biko partners, including local and online businesses, charities, and more. Current US partner companies include PUBLIC Bikes, Nutcase Helmets, DUER, and MOVA, as well as local businesses in each of the five cities that will benefit from increased discovery and foot traffic. Biko is launching in the US with a one month contest so their users from Washington, Oregon and California have the opportunity to win prizes like:
Since Biko’s Canadian launch in September, they have created some solid partnerships with Vancouver staples like Big Rock Urban, Modo and Two Wheel Gear; offering promotions like $50 in driving credits from Modo and even $25 off a pannier from Two Wheel Gear. Toronto saw over 10,000 people join Biko in the first two weeks!
Frankly, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Biko is a great tool to kick-start the shift in mentality and move people to a healthier and more sustainable mode of transportation.
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, Biko has 170,000 users worldwide who have earned more than 21M bikos.
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!
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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