the internet got you a bicycle?

So the internet got me a bicycle. It’s both a long and a short story. Here is the bicycle.

What's the deal with the bike...?

It’s basically a purple bicycle with a cell phone and a solar powered battery charger. The cell phone has a camera and a GPS unit and is mounted behind the handlebars. The bike takes a photo a minute when it’s moving. It arrived today. You can see some videos of the people building them. There are 20 or 30 of them getting sent out to various people. You can follow the ybike tag on Flickr to see some photos, there’s not that much there yet.

The bike says Yahoo! on the side of it and at some level it’s a Yahoo! marketing project. You’ll notice that this appears to be my Sellout Week for whatever reason. Please note that while I get to keep the bike — a sort of cruiser-y type bike which is fun to ride but not very practical around here — I’m not otherwise employed by the Yahoo! machine. If I had to guess why I got this bike I’d say it’s because I know some of the Flickr folks, I take decent pictures and seem to understand the Flickr system, and I live in the most beautiful place on earth. Also it is my birthday soon. Really, I have no idea, but that’s different from it being random manna that falls from the sky. At some general level, the internet gave me this bicycle.

I had to promise to ride the bike every day. We’ll see how that goes. The last time I rode a bike more than three days in a row this decade I was at Burning Man. That said, I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in all decade, so this will be an interesting experiment. You can go friend my bike if you want to but as you can see from some of the recent photos, the photo stream isn’t that exciting, especially at night.

I’ll save my analysis of the panopticon and the erosion of personal privacy and my place in that whole equation for another day likely in the not-too-distant future. For now I’m just like “Hey purple bike!”

What do you think?



  1. I want one too! I really do! What do I have to do to get one?!?

    Knowing you would suffice? :D

  2. Me tuned!… :D

    The thing is there was one day when I was thinking: “Wouldn’t it be nice if my Canon A630 had something like a GPS to make my geotagging on flickr automatic? Hmm… maybe that’s a great project I could develop.”

    As many bright-green ideas, for that time, it only remained at the “idea” level.

    When I read this, the idea flooded my mind again! So… I don’t know, maybe we could work something out… :-?

  3. I can’t tell you how envious I am. I’ve been going to a local bike shop a lot recently, riding a ton on my old road bike all summer, and every time I go to the shop I tool around on that very same bike. It’s an Electra Townie with Schwalbe Fat Frank balloon tires. It’s like riding a two-wheeled couch at 8 mph.

    Cell phone, GPS, solar panel, and camera, too? Oh man. I wouldn’t have any problem riding that rig daily. Just did a “century” on Wednesday on a lesser cruiser (the Trek Lime), taking many photos and vids along the way – some while in motion.

  4. I want a GPS photo-taking bike, too.

    I wonder if you’ve changed the site design since I was here last. I can’t remember what it used to be, only that it seems mellower somehow and I like the gradient at top (and the five flickr photos are a nice touch).

  5. Hi Jessamyn, you seem to be a star, my dear!
    I have crossed by your website by reading “A Rough Guide to the Internet”, a book writen by Peter Buckley and Duncan Clark, 2006 edition. I was really pleased to have some quick read over your blog and main website (This), and hopefully we can keep in contact to change some ideas anyways. i will be pleased to have a celeb as a distant friend. I was born in Brazil but have spent most of my life in New Zealand, where I study Information technology.
    Hope to hear from you!
    Take care, Ricardo

    PS:this message was also left at the

  6. Hi
    The internet got me a mopad this weekend. Just arrived from the post, 5 minutes ago. It’s a Suzuki AC50, 50CC (up to 70km/h. Im so happy. Thanks to TradeMe NZ.

  7. sounds like: as a bike it’s a crappy camera, and as a camera it’s a crappy bike, and as a bike it’s a crappy bike, and as a camera, who knows.