From lycra laundry services to penguin crossings, this is CycleHack Glasgow 2017
This September we saw the return of CycleHack, a hackathon aimed at reducing the barriers to cycling, for the 4th year running.
Taking place in over 25 cities globally, we once again accepted the challenge of solving the barriers to cycling in our home town. With our recent expansion to The Big Smoke, we were delighted to be able to have our Sarah and Maya join the London leg of CycleHack as well.
What makes you ditch two wheels for four?
The barriers in Glasgow, like in other cities adapted to cars, are many and provide ample excuses for our citizens to ditch two wheels for four. Whether it’s an issue of cyclist safety, unsuitable infrastructure, or that questionable weather our Deer Green Place is famous for, these are issues we want to tackle head-on through a rapid, creative design process.
With us for the ride this year were Keira, Harriet, and Greg. We were also joined by a brilliant team of volunteers, and of course our wonderful hackers. As always, we were delighted to find many hackers from previous years returning.
Hosted in Distill at The Whisky Bond, our two-and-a-half-day hackathon began with an evening designed to inspire, spark conversation, and build connections.
Our speakers this year covered a wide range of topics related to cycling. Giorgia Bow of Sustrans and Glasgow City Council expanded on the many ways the council are responding to an increasing need for clear and connected cycling infrastructure. Snook’s own Alan Ainsley spoke of the impact cycling has on mental health, and the inspiration behind his Velostrator graphical poster series.
Inspiration, confirmation, and times of desperation
A big question we had on our minds this year was how we could use cycling data to guide and reinforce the ideas coming out of the hack.
Simon Tricker from UrbanTide noted in his talk on the opening night that there is no shortage of data, but rather that data is ‘locked up in silos’. Essentially, the data is presented in states that are unaccessible and illegible to anyone bar those with a background in data analysis.
For events like CycleHack, sourcing data which is both accessible, legible, and can be synthesised within a 48 hour timeframe is a barrier in itself. To make accessing facts and figures easy for our hackers, the Glasgow team debuted the CycleHack Data Station – an area of the event space where hackers could go to ‘for inspiration, confirmation, and times of desperation’. The space consisted of useful facts pulled out of Scotland-specific cycling reports, as well as access to UrbanTide’s data platform, USMART.
Hacker Roy’s project, TICKER, used open-source bicycle counting data to visualise the activity of bicycles, cars, and trains within the city. Roy identified a lack of live visualisation of transport vehicles, and argued that a clearer display of commuter methods can in turn promote a change in behaviour.
Penguin crossings and lycra laundry services
The undercurrent of many hackers this year was safety. Perhaps as a reflection of recent events involving cyclists, this theme made a recurrence in conversations between our hackers.
The Penguin Crossing identified the need for safer road crossings for visually impaired members of our communities, and introduced a new avian species to our roadside vocabulary. With Glasgow upgrading many cycling paths to be separated from roads, bus stops become new hazards for pedestrians. Penguin crossings provide a warning to cyclists to slow down, and safe areas for pedestrians to cross cycling paths when going to and from bus shelters.
Turning their eyes to the on-demand economy, Underoo is a service that launders your lycra while you work. Faced with the dilemma of pulling on garments with the morning commute sweat still lingering, Underoo subscribers need not do more than place their clothes into a designated locker, go about their day, and find it neatly refreshed upon their return.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts
As always, CycleHack Glasgow could not have been possible without the invaluable support of our sponsors. In no particular order, we would like to extend our gratitude to the following: