(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)
It was part comedy show, part show-and-tell and all Bike Hack Night.
The group of self-described bike nerds that gathered at 1776’s new Crystal City campus on Wednesday evening were met not only with pizza and beer, but also with fresh smoothies and hugs from a young version of Santa. The occasion? Transportation Techies’ Bike Hack Night IV.
The evening was led by Transportation Techies organizer (and thoroughly comedic emcee) Michael Schade, who began by announcing that the meetup marked the two-year anniversary of the group (happy birthday, Transport Techies!).
After an open-floor call for announcements, Schade introduced the four speakers of the evening, each of whom had 10 minutes to present their particular bike hack. To keep the atmosphere friendly 1776 intern Chris, dressed in a Santa suit, offered hugs to urge presenters off the stage at the end of their time.
Here’s who presented:
1. Kate Rabinowitz, DataLensDC
Rabinowitz has done some interesting data visualizations showing the rise of biking in the District, as well as the rate and location of bike crashes. She presented her work, which we profiled in November.
2. Rob McPherson, Baas Bikes
The Baas Bikes concept is essentially this: Car2Go, but with bikes. So, like a bikeshare program? The short answer is: sort of. The distinguishing line here is fuzzier, but Baas Bikes aims to target places where major bikesharing programs are unlikely to exist — college towns for example. They also want to have a range of bikes available, so you can pick up a ride that’s a bit less clunky than your average Capital Bikeshare. The big issue Baas Bikes faces, as you might imagine, is security. How can they keep their bikes safe while locked to average public bike racks rather than specialized bikeshare installations? One answer to this is a Dutch-inspired back tire lock, a prototype of which McPherson was showing off at the event.
3. Brooks Robertson, Esri
Esri is arguably the leading mapping software company, and Robertson is clearly passionate about mapping data. He showed off his work on a tool that allows users to overlay geolocated bike crash data on to a map, then combine with data on location of bike lanes and more to get a picture of what the issues really are.
4. Dave Nesbitt, Mapzen
Nesbitt drove all the way from Mapzen’s offices in Pennsylvania to showcase the open data bike routing project that the company launched in August. Mapzen really wants their API to be used. Got any cool ideas for an app requiring a bike routing service? Be sure to check them out.
Got a bike hack idea you’d like to present at a future Bike Hack Night? The next event is penciled in for the beginning of March 2016. Mark your calendars, and stay informed via the Transportation Techies Meetup page.