When Hackforge kicked off the C3Tech initiative in February 2022, one of our first goals was to learn about and engage with the cycling community in Windsor-Essex. To get this started, we released a short survey asking about why people cycle and what (if any) technology they use while doing so.
Of the 152 responses received, nearly 64% indicated that they cycle more than once a week, while 2% say they never cycle. (This isn’t a surprising outcome, since people who ride their bikes frequently are obviously more likely to respond to a survey about riding their bikes – but it’s still good to note.)
76% of respondents say the number one reason they ride their bike is for exercise or fun, while 22% ride mainly as a form of transportation.
As with most things in modern life, technology has invaded cycling. When it comes to planning and tracking their routes, 80% of our respondents use some type of application – mobile or otherwise.
The app that C3Tech aims to develop, then, is targeted towards that 80% who like to have technology as part of their routine. Since there’s no need to recreate the apps these riders are already using, what features should go in a Windsor-Essex cycling app?
Luckily, we asked that question, too!
Based on preliminary conversations with members of the cycling community, and armed with some knowledge of what is achievable within the 12-month span of this project, we suggested a few tools that might be created.
By far the most popular response was “Route suggestions based on safety,” with 129 votes, followed by “points of interest,” with 87 votes (each respondent was able to vote for as many of the 7 options as they wished).
We’ve taken this feedback to heart, and are currently working on building out WindsorEssexCycling.ca to consider safety when selecting routes.
In our Hackathon held this spring, one of the participating teams developed a solution that allows an administrator to set “No-Go Routes,” which the routing application will then avoid when creating a path between user-selected points. By taking dangerous roads and intersections out of the equation, the routes suggested by the application are inherently safer for all cyclists.
This proof-of-concept tool is influencing how the C3Tech Summer Intern adds considerations for route safety into our final product. We’re also launching a Route Advisory Committee to help us determine which road sections should be avoided completely, and which should only be used by experienced cyclists. Stay tuned for more news on safe cycling routes!
Joining The City of Windsor Bicycle Committee, CWATS, and Parallel 42 Systems, OTIL is coming on board as our Official Tourism Partner through their Tourism + Tech initiative.
OTIL is a non-profit initiative created to find, foster, and support new tourism ideas, experiences, and partnerships, with a focus on collaborations between the tourism and tech sectors. Founded in 2018, they now offer mentorships and grants to tourism entrepreneurs in Ontario and British Columbia. OTIL is also a C3Tech sister project under the Hackforge umbrella.
We are extremely excited to have them on board, and will be using their generous contribution to fund project administration and for hackathon prizes – stay tuned for more on that!
As the next step in our C3Tech Initiative, Hackforge, in partnership with The City of Windsor Bicycle Committee, CWATS, and Parallel 42 Systems, is hosting a hackathon focused on extending and improving the features and functionality of WindsorEssexCycling.ca
Participation is free and open to anyone interested, including cyclists, project managers, designers, and developers of all experience levels. Join as a team or individual, and work on your own idea, or one of our community suggestions.
The C3Tech Cycling Hackathon will run for five weeks, with an official kickoff on April 1st, and a closing event on June 4th. Throughout that time, participants will have the chance to participate in weekly events to learn more about design and software development. There will also be access to mentors in various fields and disciplines to provide expert advice. Participants are welcome to collaborate with their teammates using their preferred method (in-person, Zoom, Discord, etc.)
Below is the full schedule of events. Please check back often in case of changes (participants will be notified of any schedule changes via email)
Friday, April 29
Meet judges, mentors, and other participants in this casual get-together
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Maiden Lane Wine & Spirits (494 Pelissier Ave, Windsor)
Sunday, May 1
Featuring a roundtable comprised of transportation activists, cyclists, and municipal representatives, this event will help to set the stage for why C3Tech is happening and what we’re hoping this hackathon can help achieve. Learn more about the community-generated ideas for WindsorEssexCycling.ca and get pumped up to help solve local cycling problems!
Learn where OSM data comes from and improve the data available about Ford City in this free workshop (open to hackathon participants and non-participants alike) Visit WindsorJanesWalk.ca for more information
3 – 5 pm
Meet Outside of City Cyclery (1008 Drouillard Rd, Windsor)
Sunday, May 8
Week 1 Gathering: Share Your Plans
Discuss your idea and approach with judges, mentors, and other participants. Receive feedback and advice, ask questions, and get to know other people involved in the event! (attendance at this event is voluntary but encouraged)
Take a break from coding and engage in the activity we’re all here to support! Join Bike Windsor-Essex for a casual and leisurely ride around Kingsville (please bring your own bike and proper safety equipment)
10 am – 12 pm
Carnegie Visitor Centre (28 Division St. S, Kingsville)
Sunday, May 15
Week 2 Gathering: TBA
(attendance at this event is voluntary but encouraged)
Hear from a professional developer about the steps involved in properly wrapping up a project, including testing, debugging, and releasing, then ask for advice on your project (attendance at this event is voluntary but encouraged)
In the last weekly gathering, share your project once again with mentors, judges, and other participants to receive feedback on last-minute tweaks (attendance at this event is voluntary but encouraged)
During this event each team/participants will have a chance to show off their work and to explain how it makes cycling in Windsor-Essex safer, easier, and/or more enjoyable. Judges will consider each submission and confer with each other before announcing the winners at the end.(If local guidelines allow, this event will be held in-person, with the option for participants to join virtually. Stay tuned for more information)
We’ve launched WindsorEssexCycling.ca, received input from local cyclists, and looked into the code with developers, so now it’s time to bring it all together! This May, Hackforge, along with The City of Windsor Bicycle Committee, CWATS, and Parallel 42 Systems, is running a Hackathon to customize and enhance our digital cycling tools.
Some of the feature requests we’ve heard from the community include:
A-to-B navigation indicating the safety level of various routes
Pleasure-ride routes based on estimated time to accomplish
Suggested routes between local businesses (e.g. brewery/winery routes)
All city and county trails represented on a single map
Bike lane/path issue reporting to municipalities and publication for other cyclists
Interested parties can register for free as individuals or groups (or individuals looking for groups!) to participate. People of all skillsets and experience levels are welcome, including project managers, cyclists, designers, and developers. Participants will have access to expert mentors, weekly development training sessions, and more to help them improve their skills throughout the Hackathon process.
Hackforge Virtual Watch Party: Ip Man Friday, March 4th @ 8PM Discord
Starring Donnie Yen, 2008’s IP Man follows a group of people trying to survive in an occupied city during the Japanese invasion of China. Log in to Teleparty to join us for a watch-along of this martial arts masterpiece.
The Canadian Mental Health Association is joining us this month for a workshop devoted to mental wellness. Freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners have unique work experiences that can result in their own mental health concerns.
To help us learn how to properly address them, Carrie Davis will be joining us to look at:
unique stressors of entrepreneurs
mental fitness and wellbeing of Canadas entrepreneurs
Last month Hackforge launched C3Tech, a joint initiative with The City of Windsor Bicycle Committee, CWATS, and Parallel 42 Systems. Over the remainder of 2022 we will be working with the community to build an app that provides bicycle riders with the information that will make cycling in Windsor and Essex County a safer and more viable form of transportation and leisure.
In order to build an app that serves the needs of the community, we need to hear from the community! To give everyone a chance to share their thoughts and opinions, we’re running a virtual Town Hall Forum and everyone is invited. The event is free to attend, but advance registration is required.
Get into the details of OpenStreetMap, CyclOSM, and BRouter with Randy and Chris!
In preparation for our spring hackathon, this informal, exploratory session will take a look at the code that drives WindsorEssexCycling.ca. Developers and non-developers of all experience levels are invited to attend, with questions and comments encouraged!
Register to receive the Zoom link and we’ll see you on March 21st!