Bicycle culture is adopted as one of the solutions to increasing traffic congestion problems in many world cities. But that’s not the only thing — creative class guru Richard Florida claims that bicycle-friendly metros “are richer, better-educated, and more fit than non-biking places”. But how to stimulate bicycle culture in cities? PleaseCycle, a London-based start-up, is working on the first discount and reward network built around cycling.
By introducing the ‘BikeMile’, an ‘Air Mile’ system for bicycles, PleaseCycle allows brands to incentivise cycle journeys with everything from cheaper coffee and cycle gear to lower health insurance premiums. Several major employers are already using the system to gamify commuting to work, offering rewards such as free holiday time or donations to charity. The company’s founder, 23-year old entrepreneur Ry Morgan, explains how it works:
“PleaseCycle creates digital Cycle Hubs for organizations which allow employees to log miles via Twitter and a mobile app (…). They can then redeem these BikeMiles for discount vouchers at a variety of retailers and compete against colleagues for additional rewards. The system provides clients with an extremely powerful employee-engagement and benefit tool, allowing them to inspire staff and oversee just how many miles are being cycled — turning the data into a tangible CSR report as well.”
The system launched in beta in November with three hubs already live (including a hotel and university) and many more in development. According to Morgan, the technology is perfectly able to instill ramification elements into a company’s sustainability agenda, tracking the carbon saved and offering achievements to staff. “Clients are already using the Hub to incentivise employees with everything from extra holiday time to discounted cycle equipment through our retail partners. We are essentially creating an Air Miles for bikes.” Morgan hopes that “one day every business worth their salt will have a Cycle Hub”.