Things we tend to love: the environment, friends, the internet, health, biking, competing with others.
Things we tend to not love so much: pollution, getting stuck in traffic, being sick and weak, having no friends whatsoever.
If you look at this data, it’s not so weird that someone came up with the idea: hey, why not make a social networking site where you can join in a friendly competition with others, on how much mileage you get out of your bike and what this means in terms of greenness and physical well being. Two sites have emerged recently and have thus entered in a friendly competition for the biking online social networker; Greenlightride.com and Worldcommute.com.
Greenlightride is backed up by the corporate dollars from bicycle manufacturer Civia Cycles and Worldcommute is funded by Cateye, a company that manufactures accessories for cyclists. The Greenlightride version actually started as an in-company app for Civia employees that became so popular they decided to put it online. Even though this story gives their site considerably more street-cred, it also shows when looking at the design of greenlightride.com. It just doesn’t look like it was built somewhere in this millennium. Everything works fine, it’s very easy to navigate, compare with other and get your stats… it just ain’t pretty. Sorry.
Worldcommute on the other hand looks like a Flash delight. Not too much animation, but just enough. The picture on their homepage of a lone cyclist over an Amsterdam canal is a much appreciated welcome. Entering the distance you have ridden, skated, walked or ran is a treat, because you instantly get some impressive looking charts of how much health points you’ve earned and how much petrol you have saved. Comparing with others is fun as long as everybody stocks with the rules, which probably won’t happen.
Both efforts are much appreciated and the tech part of both sites work really well. I am a bit skeptical about whether or not either will turn into a success. Between the two, I’d say worldcommute holds the better cards, but I am not sure there is a market for such a site. There are so many social networks out there already and even though the competition element is fun, it might be very frustrating to know that that guy that’s in first place is probably a liar. However, keeping track of the amount of petrol you save is a nice touch. I’ll try and use both sites for a while to see if either one will keep a good spot in my bookmark list.