Social Sharing of Rides? BikeSpike: Meet MyRidePool

I’m boring. I’m a closet introvert. I don’t go on group rides. For my commute, I stick to the same couple of routes. I commute alone, with my deep thoughts, like, Maybe only dumb people recount being abducted by aliens because aliens keep the smart ones.

So I don’t really get why there are so many competing services offering to help people map and share their rides.

Which brings me back to BikeSpike. Since my first post about BikeSpike, they have received pledges for more than half of their goal.

There are so many mapping benefits for advocacy, but also for social sharing. A service such as MyRidePool could use shared information from BikeSpike to help commuters find each other and ride to work together in togetherly togetherness. Which would make bike commuting safer than it already is — and more social.

I want a BikeSpike, which is why I want their Kickstarter campaign to succeed. But I’d be like the motorist who is an AAA member and only wants roadside assistance, but doesn’t care much about all of the other fabulous member benefits.

Now that the clock is ticking down on BikeSpike, they ran out “Early Bird” specials, and have replaced it with the “Early-ish Bird” special. For $155 you get the BikeSpike device, 9 months of the Commuter data plan, 1 carbon fiber water bottle cage, wall charger, security screws and an installation tool.

Prashant Palsokar from MyRidePool contacted me to maybe write something about his service. I was unenthusiastic because of my whole introvert thing. So I asked him two questions.

What’s in it for a commuter?

How many commuters would prefer to ride alone, especially if the commute is long (say 10-30 miles)? The fact that there are many commuters boards abuzz with activity seems to indicate many would not. I’ve inspected a number of boards where people post, looking for riding partners.

And since he’s a mapping geek, I asked…

What do you think about BikeSpike?

This is fascinating in what it can do. Reading their API ideas,

  • We could integrate with their APIs such that we would import a person’s previous rides, list them, and allow the user to select it and create a ride directly. It would be an easy process, similar to importing a GPX file (which we are almost done implementing).
  • We could also provide a person’s real-time location on the ride (privacy preferences allowing), so that others could see rides in progress and join where suitable to them. This reduces planning and commitment.

Let me point out that we already have a partner integration with Strava, that imports your ride stats and displays them.

…and not you antisocial types. | Screen shot:

If you think about it, all of those member benefits of AAA, they’re subsidized by the majority of members who don’t use them.

And I suppose that all of those theoretical advocacy benefits BikeSpike would be subsidized by all the people like me who just want the LoJack-like features of the device.

So this is an introduction. BikeSpike: Meet MyRidePool.

And a couple of question to readers:

Do would you prefer to commute with a group, or are you a loner like me?

Do you use any mapping services, such as  MyRidePool, Strava, MapMyRide, Bike Route Toaster, Bikely, or Ride with GPS? Why?

BTW: I did a social ride this morning. My wife, for only the second time, rode her bike to work. It was her idea. It was fun, but I didn’t feel any compulsion to share it with the world.

Wait. I just did.


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9 thoughts on “Social Sharing of Rides? BikeSpike: Meet MyRidePool”

  1. Joe Chapline says:

    I don’t like social rides, either. A great advantage of bike commuting, compared to public transportation or ridesharing, is that you can leave when you want, and not coordinate with anyone. I have nothing against cyclists with social impulses, but do think that the emphasis on “bike culture” can make cycling seem like a “special,” non-mainstream activity, for those that want to join the club, speak the lingo, buy the outfits, etc.

  2. EK says:

    When I first started commuting, I preferred to ride with others, mostly to quell my anxiety over the route (a high volume of medium speed traffic and some sketchy neighborhoods). Eventually, I got tired of the effort it took to organize the group when all I really ever wanted to do was ride. So now, I mostly ride alone, and tend to prefer it that way.

  3. Teri says:

    I prefer to ride alone mostly. I sometimes ride with my husband when he has time & I’ve ridden with a friend or two a few times. I love the solitude riding alone brings me. I don’t have to be social or worry if I’m riding too slow or too fast. When I happen upon a fellow rider, I will keep pace with them if they look “approachable” and carry on a bit of a conversation and then I’m on my merry way. I use my smartphone’s GPS and Endomondo and/or Strava for mapping my “voyage” mainly so my husband can find me if something happens.

  4. BluesCat says:

    My daily commute is the only time I have all to myself.

    The rest of the day is filled with fussy, noisy granddaughters screaming for attention, fussier, noisier coworkers screaming even louder for attention, etc.

    The solitude of the bike ride is what gives me the strength to endure it all.

    I have an old Garmin GPS that I use when I’m scouting a different route (keeps me from winding up on dead end roads), but I don”t religiously keep a record of of my mileage, time, average speed, etc. I used to use my bike computer to do that, but as I’ve said before I’m a championship level sloth and I don’t even take the bike computer out of sleep mode much anymore.

  5. Prashant says:

    Your statements are a great use case for

    One difficulty in commuting with others is how hard it is to corral the group. So if you took the same route at the same time, you could set up a recurring ride and get an email notifying you when someone RSVPs to come with. Takes a lot of the pain away.

    The other major point is not knowing who’s going with you. If they are going to be too slow or too fast. When both parties can see each other’s skill levels and previous trips, it helps to find the right match.

    Of course if you prefer the solitude that riding alone brings, you’ve read too far:).

  6. Joel says:

    I do not have anything against social riding but I tend to gravitate towards BluesCat and enjoy the quiet “mind” time. My mind is busy with traffic and bicycle conditions but for most of the ride, I can let it go on automatic cruise control.

    The other difficulty would be trying to locate fellow riders at the same time who travel at the same speed.

    The speed varies for so many reasons. My cargo weight, wind, how many days in a row I have used the bike, and my physical activity at work during the day. Some days I feel like pushing the envelope and some days I just want to gently tool along and savor the ride.

    The fact that my bicycle seats one makes me feel better about using it alone because unlike a car, I am not wasting three other empty seats as I commute.

    If I had a tandem, I would be offering rides to hitch-hikers to fill the second seat and share the load. One seat, it’s all mine.

    Nineteen months into my all year multi-mode commute and I dread going back into my car for work. I have logged an average of 300 commuter miles per month and 200 miles per month of “other” riding. The other includes Saturdays and Sundays when I take my 1984 Schwinn on some longer rides in the morning (about 90 minutes each day). After using my indestructible, heavy, tank-like commuter bike during the week, the road bike rides like a sports car (only 26 lbs compared to bike, rackpack and gear of 60 lbs for my commuter). I have lost and kept off fourteen pounds. I continue to slowly shrink my waistline while keeping the same weight. During my daily activities, I cannot remember the last time I felt like I was breathing hard.

    There was a book titled, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” If I would write a book, it would be titled, “The Contented Bicycle Commuter.”

    I check the site often and enjoy knowing that there are many people who feel the same.

  7. Audrey says:

    I am an introvert and I commute alone. My commute is only 3 miles, and I live in a small town. I’ll commute with my husband on the rare day that he is not bringing the kids to school. I would be glad to be a commuting mentor, to ride with a newbie commuter, but I would see that as a temporary thing. Maybe on a longer commute or in a bigger town I could see using a bike social network. I use Ride with GPS for the ride planning capacity for fun rides — not alone, but on a tandem recumbent. The two of us ride “alone,” because tandem recumbents don’t play nice with others, especially on our hills.

  8. listenermark says:

    Long solo rides provide a internal space that allows me to concentrate on a single idea/problem/solution with an intensity that I rarely achieve off the bike. It’s meditation with endorphins.

  9. Bill says:

    There is nothing nicer then a long, solo bike ride on a cool, spring morning.

    It is a great time to think and plan, or just to kick back and let the world flow on by.

    I have serious reservations about a gadget that contacts all my friends everytime I have a little spill on my bike.

    If you happen to be a sloppy rider then that could end up worrying all your fiends needlessly on an almost daily basis!

    What happened to the nearest person who is around just asking you if you are ok?

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