New app to track cyclists’ spending

Do you buy when you’re on your bike? Urban councillors want to know where and when you spend, to help them plan better bike projects.

Quax, record, repeat.

Coun. Jeff Leiper wants to know how you spend when you’re on your bike: are you popping in to a local coffee shop? Picking up something for dinner? Maybe you’re putting the finishing touches on a birthday present.

 

He wants to know it all, to prove that cyclists spend money just like drivers.

“I think we’re going to see quaxing become a bigger thing,” Leiper said.

For the uninitiated, quaxing is, quite simply, the act of running errands by bike, foot or transit – named for an Auckland, New Zealand politician who couldn’t believe anyone would actually run errands without the help of a car.

According to Leiper, if cyclists can track how they spend their money, then councillors will have more ammo when they go to council looking for bike funding.

“It’s all leading to more cycling parking and cycling infrastructure,” he said.

The process is simple. Cycling shoppers make their purchases, and then log the amount of money they spent on the IBikeIBuy app.

They can offer details right down to the shop name, and categorize their spending.

Leiper expects to see a lot of coffee shop and patio users, but “I’m hoping to be surprised by the everyday spending” like groceries.

He’s expanded the website he launched last year, which allowed cyclists who parked at the Fairmont Avenue bike corral in Hintonburg track how much they spent. It logged about $6,300 in purchases from 100 individual users, Leiper said.

But the improved website – and new mobile app – will hopefully make data tracking more sophisticated, he said.

For one thing, the entire downtown core is now included, in partnership with council’s ‘urban caucus’ – Mathieu Fleury, Tobi Nussbaum, Catherine McKenney and David Chernushenko.

And Bluetooth-powered beacons at 12 select stores will ping those with apps to remind them to track their spending.

Read the Metro Ottawa article online here.

Catherine McKenney