Introducing the Spotcycle Lab app, our next-gen reboot of Spotcycle

The much-anticipated release of our Spotcycle Lab bike share app is finally here! The Spotcycle Lab project is a reboot of Spotcycle™ and created as the sandbox in which you can try out new features we develop (as well as features you ask to see), with the goal of creating the ultimate bike share app. With a built-in feedback feature, Spotcycle Lab provides a platform that makes it easy for you to send us your comments.

In addition to the classic Spotcycle station status functionalities, Spotcycle Lab includes new unique features including:

  • Reality+™, our own augmented reality overlay for locating bike stations in live view
  • Station clustering to make it easier to locate stations and bikes in a general area
  • A more user-friendly and unified navigation

As with all our Spotcycle products, you can download Spotcycle Lab (v.1.0) for Android and iOS devices for free.

Spotcycle Lab builds on our Spotcycle platform and is our take on a user-driven bike share app. It will be the ongoing developmental playground in which we’ll test out new potential features for Spotcycle. Based on your positive feedback for these features, some of them might eventually make their way to Spotcycle. In other words, Spotcycle Lab will be an ongoing project responsive to user feedback.

Spotcycle Lab and Spotcycle will remain as separate applications. As we’ll be introducing more avant garde features to Spotcycle Lab that might appeal to some users, other users might prefer the classic Spotcycle application for their daily bike share needs.

Check out the full list of features, supported devices and bike share schemes on the Spotcycle web page. Feel free to let us know what you think!

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Spotcycle updates its support for Bike Share Toronto, TDot’s rebooted bike share scheme

Toronto’s renewed bike share system is now called Bike Share Toronto and we’ve updated our Spotcycle data with the latest from the scheme.

Besides a brand spanking new name, logo and new pricing, Bike Share Toronto will run pretty much the same as before when it was known as BIXI Toronto.

Be sure to use Spotcycle to check up on the latest bike station statuses in Toronto and for all your day-to-day bike share needs!

Bike Share Toronto logo

Bike Share Toronto's logo

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Working on restoring B-Cycle data to Spotcycle

We’d like to offer our sincerest apologies to our B-Cycle bike share users while we are working out the temporary kinks with the data.

We’re actively working with the folks at B-Cycle to get their data back up and running on Spotcycle so please bear with us while we do. We want to make sure our B-Cycle bike share users are not left in the lurch for any extended length of time.

Meanwhile, follow us on Twitter @Spotcycle to stay in the loop.

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Taking a look behind the curtain: how Spotcycle works

We’ve chatted mostly about the features you see in our app — finding nearby bike stations, bikes and bike docks, new bike share schemes to our app, and improvements. It’s time we take a brief moment to look at how Spotcycle works behind the scenes!

How Spotcycle gets its data

How Spotcycle gets its data

  1. Bike share schemes typically keep their bike share data accessible to third party developers as Web services or in other formats (for instance, in XML files) on their own servers.
  2. The bike share data is retrieved by the server that feeds the Spotcycle application.
  3. The Spotcycle application interprets the data and displays it on your mobile device.

When there are lags or blips on the data, the servers from which Spotcycle gets its data also display these blips. Sometimes it might be due to irregularities or lags in the data being fed to the Spotcycle app and what the current state of the system is. Spotcycle will always display the same map data as on the Web sites for your bike share schemes.

Here’s a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your bike share with Spotcycle:

  • Check the last refresh time for the map data in the app.
  • Refresh the app data as often as possible (but be wary of any data charges that might apply).

Feel free to let us know if you have feedback for our application!

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How to extend your bike share rental and avoid usage fees with the help of Spotcycle

It’s no secret that using bike share to get around town helps you save time and money — they’re designed for short-term trips and ease of use.

If you’re a casual user though, your free trips might be limited to 30 minutes or less; any ride longer than 30 minutes starts incurring usage fees (but you should check with your local bike share provider for precise details).

But what happens when your destination takes just a little longer than the free minutes to get to by bike? Return the bike to a dock before your free minutes are up and walk the rest of the way? Or bite the bullet and pay the fees?

Here’s where Spotcycle comes in: avoid additional bike share fees by dock-surfing to your destination. Dock-surfing (or sometimes called daisy-chaining) is just splitting up your bike trip into smaller trips so that each smaller trip you take is always within the free minutes of your rental.

Here’s how to do it:

Dock-surfing with Spotcycle

How to extend your bike share rental by dock-surfing with Spotcycle

  1. Plan your bike journey using Spotcycle to help you locate stations along the way.
  2. Set the timer on Spotcycle to your limit for a free trip (usually 30 minutes, but check with your bike share scheme provider). Make sure the Alarm setting is enabled on the Spotcycle rental timer to tell you when the rental is up.
  3. Start your bike share ride.
  4. Ride for the duration of your free trip (use the rental timer built into Spotcycle to warn you in advance), and return the bike to a dock (even if you haven’t made it to your destination).
  5. Wait a bit for your next available free rental trip (usually about 5 minutes).
  6. Once ready, take out another (or the same) bike and continue on your journey.
  7. Dock your bike (repeat many times as you need to get to your final destination) and you’re done — without a usage fee in sight!

Dock-surfing works great for those who aren’t in a hurry (as there obviously is some waiting involved); the best part is you won’t be billed extra fees!

Note that if the docks are full at the station where you want to return the bike, you can always find the closest available docks at the terminal if your bike share system supports this feature; you’ll get a few extra minutes on your rental to bike there. You might also be able to phone the bike share provider to let them know you need an extension to locate an available bike dock.

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Spotcycle adds support for over two dozen bike share schemes around the world

We’ve added 25 bike share schemes from around the world to the Spotcycle app that includes Villo! in Brussels, Paris’ Vélib, Seville’s SEVici, and Stockholm’s Stockholm City Bike.

Spotcycle is still tops (in our humble opinion!) for being the most comprehensive, free – and ad-free – bike share app around. With these new additions, we’ve got more than 65 bike share schemes covered (check out the map below)!

To see these newly added bike share schemes, there’s no need to download anything if you already have Spotcycle.


View Spotcycle Around the World in a larger map

Here’s the full list of new bike share schemes that just got added:

Belgium

France

Japan

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Norway

Russia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

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Spotcycle heads to San Francisco Bay Area with support for Bay Area Bike Share

San Francisco Bay Area’s new bike share scheme, Bay Area Bike Share is the latest we’ve added to the Spotcycle application.

Bike share cyclists can get around using Bay Area Bike Share in all the service areas including San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose. Cyclists can access the bikes 24/7 and can return bikes at any bike station in any of the service areas within the city.

Bay Area Bike Share rolled out its initial fleet of 700 bikes across 70 bike stations on August 29; the scheme operators plans add another 300 bike and 30 bike stations by year’s end.

As with all new bike share cities, there is no need to download anything new if you already have Spotcycle. For those still looking to for a go-to bike share app, you can download Spotcycle for free!

Golden Gate from Marshall Beach

Photo “Golden Gate from Marshall Beach” by kern.justin, on Flickr. Used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Spotcycle release 3.4.1 for iOS and Android resolves a few minor bugs and improves performance

We’ve made a few minor updates in Spotcycle 3.4.1 for Android and iOS devices to resolve a few issues with the application crashing, bugs with some generated links, and we’ve made a number of performance improvements.

You can download the latest version of Spotcycle with these updates from here.

Meanwhile, we’re still working on our Spotcycle Lab project where we’re crafting our ultimate bike share app.

We’d like you to let us know how we’re doing with Spotcycle. Feel free to leave us feedback on our Spotcycle Lab soapbox at lab.spotcycle.net or leave us a comment below.

You can also tweet us at @Spotcycle with the hashtag #SpotcycleLab.

Happy riding!

Spotcycle Lab

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Spotcycle adds Columbus’ CoGo Bike Share to its growing roster of supported bike shares

We’ve recently incorporated CoGo Bike Share to our Spotcycle mobile app, adding historical Columbus, Ohio to our ever-growing list of cities that are implementing bike share systems around the world.

Launched last July 30, CoGo’s fleet of 300 gray and red bikes are distributed among the 30 stations in and around the city center. Residents and visitors can get around with the help of Spotcycle on Columbus’ new bike share, from Schiller Park to Short North, as well as from the Scioto Audubon Center to Livingston Park.

As all new bike shares added to our app, this update is transparent which means you don’t need to download anything if you’ve already got Spotcycle on your smartphone. If you don’t already have our app, head over to spotcycle.net for your free download!

Happy 4th of July Columbus

Photo 'Happy 4th of July Columbus' by Steve took it from Flickr. Used under CC BY 3.0

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Introducing the Spotcycle Lab project to help build the bike share app that’s right for you

We’re letting you know that we are planning a major rehaul of our Spotcycle bike share app and want to give everyone the opportunity to voice their opinions to help us create the bike share app that’s right for you.

In short, we want to build the app that helps bike share users get what they need the most by asking for their wish-list of features.

We want the good, the bad and the ugly, but most importantly, the input you provide will help us continue to deliver a reliable product that will be used and be useful.

So if you have a couple of minutes to help us out, please click the link below to send us your input directly:

Take me to Spotcycle Lab soapbox!

You can also tweet us using the #SpotcycleLab hashtag on Twitter or email at us at lab@spotcycle.net.

We’d also love it if you could help us spread the word as well, to family, friends, and your social media network!

Thanks!
The #SpotcycleLab team

Spotcycle Lab banner

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