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Bicycles Are the Next Mobile Technology Platform

As more American cities warm to the idea of bicycle sharing programs, the bike may evolve into the ideal platform for gathering urban data on everything from traffic levels to heartbeat rates. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Urban America, in its idiosyncratic way, is warming to the idea of the bicycle. Cities like Washington DC and Portland have embraced bike sharing programs. New York City, which will introduce 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations around the city this summer, is next on the list. Urban communities like the Black Label Bicycle Club have congregated around the altar of the bike, whose efficiency as a machine stands as a symbol for a more sustainable way of life. In Oakland, CA, an organization called Red, Bike and Green wants to create a ‘sustainable Black bike culture’, improving the mental and physical well-being of black Americans. 

What’s the Big Idea?

As mobile devices shrink and the computing power of processors grow, bicycles may prove the ideal way to gather vast amounts of data in urban centers. Equipped with sensors, bicycles could map “pollution levels, traffic congestion and road conditions–all in real time and of course controlled from your smartphone. … Handgrips that monitor your pulse and heart rate multiplied by millions will help us better understand the people who live in entire neighborhoods, and the pace of life from a global perspective.” The bicycle may become the primary vehicle for political and social activism. 

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