joyride bike app

Toronto designed app aims to put an end to bike theft

Joyride is a Toronto startup that wants to make bike theft a thing of the past. Leveraging public WiFi, the service tracks a bicycle's location with a variety of pings that can be used to generate a travel history. In other words, the bike doesn't need to be in the presence of a WiFi signal at all times, just often enough to put together a record of its route.

I asked company founder Vince Cifani to give me the broad strokes on how Joyride works.
"The hardware is a small device that's secured to the bike and keeps track of it's location offline," he explains. "Once Joyride comes into contact with an open Wi-Fi network, cyclists can map where their bike is and where it has been from the Joyride app."

Obviously the limiting factor right now is the number of free public WiFi networks. Cifani, however, is optimistic that open networks are on the rise. "The more open networks there are, the better chance of recovering your bike -- and the number of open Wi Fi networks is growing rapidly," he says. "Some cities, like New York, are planning for complete blanket coverage of free WiFi."

A similar service is offered by the Vanhawks Valour smartbike, though it uses GPS for tracking purposes. That's more reliable, but also more expensive than the use of open WiFi networks. More importantly, Joyride is designed to be outfitted to one's existing bike. The app is currently in beta testing with a launch date planned for later this year.

Photo by DdotG in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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