By Anitra Cottledge
I’m going to let all of you in on a tiny secret: I really underutilize apps on my iPhone. I only use a few apps with any regularity: Facebook, TweetDeck, Evernote, Wikipedia, Snaptell and Goodreads.
As a result, I had to really think about what app to highlight for this post. In the end, I decided to focus on an app that I recently started using: Spotcycle.
I am not a champion bicyclist. In fact, until a couple of weekends ago, I hadn’t been on a bike in years. I definitely don’t own one anymore. However, in my attempt to become more active, I decided to draw on the resources in my area. You may have heard that Minneapolis is the #1 bike city in the nation. It’s true; I’ve seen more people on bikes here than I’ve seen anywhere else. People bike to and from work, use bikes as their primary mode of transportation (even in the winter!), and at the University of Minnesota, employees can even earn wellness points for biking.
It’s kind of like a big deal.
Now, thanks to Nice Ride MN, Twin Cities residents and visitors can rent bikes for varying amounts of time. And best of all, there’s Spotcycle to help sometime (or oftentimes) riders:
- search for bike docks and bike stations (it even lets riders see how many bikes are available at each station!),
- keep track of the timing of their rentals, and
- bookmark and share bike routes (haven’t used this feature yet, but plan to in the future as a I do more biking).
The major downside – which isn’t a fault of the app, but rather a systemic issue – is that these bike-sharing programs aren’t available in every city. The Spotcycle website has a listing of participating programs, but if you live in a city whose program isn’t linked up with Spotcycle, your options are only to either get your local program added to the app, or to use a different app altogether.
So far, Spotcycle is working really well for me, as a basic app with pretty stripped-down features. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but I don’t need that, at least not until I become a more advanced bike rider.