The unique self-contained social bike sharing system SoBi is set to launch in New York this fall. (Check for updates on the SoBi Facebook Page). The SoBi setup involves GPS, mobile and a special security system can attach almost any bike to a regular bicycle rack. Unlike other bike sharing systems that require users to pick up and drop off bikes at home bases, SoBi bikes can be found and returned virtually anywhere they can be secured with a lock, thanks to a special lock box system, which will undergo testing in New York this fall. Users locate and unlock available bikes via their mobile phones.
SoBi was founded by Ryan Rzepecki, who last worked for the NYC Department of Transportation's bicycle program conducting field research on bike facilities and organizing cycling programs. He's joined by a team of designers and engineers: Ted Ullrich, Mike Hill, Mike Castleman, Jon Pettingill and Andrew Baker, who hail from companies like
TomorrowLab, PrimoSpot, Roasted Vermicelli and RUSHdesign.
The program is currently in the running for a Pepsi Refresh $50,000 grant.