19 September 2008

Purple Pedals in Copenhagen

Yahoo! and their Flickr company have launched a new marketing campaign wherein they combine photography and cycling in the most simple manner. Purple Pedals is the name of the gig. Yahoo! has produced 20 specially-designed bikes equipped with a solar-powered battery that runs a mobile phone camera placed between the handlebars. The camera takes photos every 60 seconds and each photo is automatically fired off into space via the mobile net. Moments later it appears on a Flickr photostream as well as a microsite that Yahoo! has set up for the campaign.
Yahoo Purple Pedals in Copenhagen
These 20 bikes were shipped off to 20 lucky cyclists around the world and I was chosen to recieve one. It arrived last Tuesday. I join cyclists in Brighton, UK, Toronto, New York, California, Sydney, Singapore and Japan. You can follow the lives of our bikes for a few weeks and see what cycling in this different cities is like.
Yahoo Purple Pedals
The battery is on the back rack and the solar panels keep the phone running. If the bike is stationary for three minutes, the system goes into standby mode. As soon as you move the bike it wakes up and starts taking photos. All so very simple.

The bike is an Electra Townie, in Yahoo's corporate colour - purple. It's a cool cruiser with gorgeous balloon tyres. There were a couple of issues with the bike which I had to iron out right away. See the above video about how I Copenhagenized it a bit. Just a bit.

Here's a video from Yahoo! about the making of the bike.

- You can see all the bikes around the world on the microsite for Purple Pedals here.
- The Flickr account for my bike also shows the photos.


my hyggelig said...

Great fun. Leave it to Californians to hook you up with a fun adventure. :) Curious to hear your thoughts as you ride about on the Electra. Love the 'make over' video...

Happy riding!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Looks like a great project that combines a couple of my favorite hobbies- maps, photography, and bicycling. I look forward to seeing more of the geolocated photographs from your bicycle.

Have you heard the song by the New York City-based band Gogol Bordello called "Start Wearing Purple"? Even though Yahoo has had a purple theme for years, it seems the naming of this promotional effort copied the band's song. They even have t-shirts that say "Start Wearing Purple."

BTW, I agree with Sigrid and think the 'make over' video is great. Keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

What a fun idea! It's going to be neat to see all of the photos... just one thing... what in the world is going on in that first photo? It's so wonderful!

Anonymous said...

You lucky, lucky man! (Now I can hear you think: "Look had nothing to do with it." :-p)

Also looking forward to those geo-pics!

Anonymous said...

of course, I meant to say 'luck', not 'look'. What's wrong with me...I didn't even have my first beer of the day yet :)

Lynn said...

Wow, they sure picked the right man to send it to! Now they just need to send an Electra "Amsterdam" model over to Marc and the world will be back in balance. :-)

Wilma Flanagan said...

Wow! Congratulations. I'll be looking forward to your comments on the Townie, as that's the bike I ride. I like it a lot, but haven't got all that much to compare it to! I know I'll enjoy the pics it takes!

Unknown said...

I'm so jealous of not needing a U-lock!

I'd like to know what you think of the Townie as well, I'm looking into a new bike for next summer, and they're one of the options (I managed to find a Batavus reseller in Montreal, as well).

Anonymous said...

I don't know why they didn't just hook up a dyno to power the phone. Seems like it would have been the more natural choice.

Dave Feucht said...

Fun to see an Electra bike in Europe :) My wife and I have the Amsterdam Classic 3, mine in Black, hers in White. We love them - they are so nice to ride, not to mention to look at :) It would be interesting to hear how you like the bike after riding it for a while. Cheers!

Daniel M. Perez said...

Sweet. I'll be looking forward to your comments on the Townie. My wife has an Electra Amsterdam 3 (the yellow tulip model, for those in the know) and I'm considering my options for my upgrade, whether a men's Amsterdam or a Townie.

We cannot get wheel locks over here, which sucks cause I love them.

I'll be checking out the Flickr pics.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, Lynn, I agree of course! Forget about that potential worm hole getting fired up in Switzerland...the universe is really in danger when the Dutch can't play along ;)

Anonymous said...

what, no mudguards?

Jonno! said...

I am super impressed with Yahoo! What a great idea to strike out in a unique way and revitalize their company image.

I'll look forward to tracking your yahoo bicycle adventures =)

Anonymous said...

Purple!! Love.

What a neat idea! Congratulations on being selected to participate. I too have an Electra Townie, though with the larger road bike wheels. Love the luscious white wheels there.

I dug the video too as well as your intriguing accent! It's dead cute how the photos get sent to your Flickr page so excitedly, "Mikael's bike took a picture!"

Anonymous said...

I have an Electra Townie too-- aren't they glorious?

I'm a little miffed about the Yahoo using the phrase "Start Wearing Purple"... they're a corporation, not gypsy-punk geniuses.
And I've already been wearing purple for ages.

But whatever-- I love the project, I think it's a fascinating idea and so far the execution seems quite up to my expectations. [=

Gratistotal said...

ohhh lovely site!

Glenn said...

I am shocked and apalled. You left it a "fair weather bike". No mudguards or coat/skirt guard.
Ho ho ho.

Glenn, Nordland, WA, USA