Yahoo! Purple Bike Project

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Photo from Lifehacker
Yahoo has built a fleet of 20 custom painted Electra Townie 8 bikes equipped with solar powered cameras and GPS devices to let folks document their cities. No, this isn’t some poor man’s version of Google’s Street View or Amazon’s A9 – the idea is to focus “on innovative ways to celebrate the eccentric side of life.” Interesting.

But seriously, the whole concept is kinda cool, especially for a mountain bike trail geek like myself. We’ve built our MTB trail database to document trails in almost every way imaginable – reviews, photos, videos, and maps – so that new riders will know exactly what to expect when they ride a trail for the first time. With the Yahoo Purple Bikes most of the trail documenting features are already built into the bike itself. The cameras are rigged to take photos every 60 seconds and the GPS adds a geo-tag to each photo automatically. The geo-tagged photos are instantly uploaded to Flickr (a Yahoo company) for all the world to see.

Lifehacker has posted a guide to creating your own ‘Flickr bike’ if you’re so inclined. My own trail-documenting rig looks something like this: GPS mounted to handlebars, GoPro Helmet Camera on the helmet, and digital camera in my jersey pocket. It may not be solar powered or upload anything automatically but it gets to job done without weighing me down on the trail. Now if I could just figure out a good way to take my huge DSLR camera on the trail I’d be all set 😉

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