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Camera-bikes broadcast offline life to Flickr, every 60 seconds

Lifestyle & Leisure

As part of a new brand-awareness campaign to promote its corporate spirit, Yahoo recently equipped a fleet of GPS-enabled bicycles with camera phones and sent them out onto the streets of major cities around the US. Launched earlier this month, the Start Wearing Purple campaign focuses on innovative ways to celebrate the eccentric side of life, as embodied in Yahoo’s official colour. For the “Purple Pedals” portion of the campaign, Yahoo took a fleet of 20 custom-pained Electra Townie 8 bicycles and rigged each one with solar panels and a camera-equipped mobile phone mounted on the handlebars in waterproof housing. Each “yBike,” as Yahoo calls them, was also given its own, dedicated Flickr account. The cameras were then rigged to take photos every 60 seconds while the bike is moving, and to immediately upload and geotag them on Flickr. Yahoo handed out 14 of the bikes to photographer-cyclists including Amit Gupta of Photojojo and Gina Trapani of Lifehacker, who curate their images as they go. The result is a photo gallery of life on the American roads in cities including New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Bethel, Vermont. Four of the bikes will be passed from rider to rider, and one will be given away through a contest. Those interested need only visit the Start Wearing Purple site on 1 October 2008 and tell Yahoo why they deserve a yBike; the one deemed most worthy will be the proud new owner of one of the small but innovative fleet. (For those who don’t win, however, Lifehacker recently posted instructions on making your own.) In addition to giving Yahoo fresh visibility in the offline world–consumers do still spend some time there, after all–the Purple Pedals effort is also a nice example of what our sister site would call a ‘digital lifestyle lubricant’, making it easier than ever to share offline experiences online. It’s all part of the Off=On trend, which you can learn more about in’s September briefing. Be inspired! Spotted by: Bjarke Svendsen



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