Forum Discussion

th's avatar
Resourceful Rider
19 days ago

Manipulative Bike Angel Cycling Patterns

I'd like to highlight a troubling issue affecting bike angels in our community. During my discussions with members of the leaderboard, many expressed frustrations with a specific behavior.

There are instances where stations experience a sudden reversal in bike availability. Some bike angels exploit this by continuously moving bikes between stations, taking advantage of this flip-flop cycle every 15 minutes. This repetitive action leads to no net change in bike availability at the stations involved. Participants in this activity accrue significant points, while others are disheartened by this behavior.

I'm unsure if this issue has been formally addressed, but I aim to provide a concrete example. On January 3rd, between 8:00 PM and 10:30 PM, two stations in the UW area exhibit this pattern:


The flip-flop consistently occurs precisely at the 15-minute mark, aligning with the assignment of Bike Angels points.

I refrain from passing judgment on those engaging in this behavior. However, it's clear that this practice does little to enhance bike availability. Redirecting the limited resources for rebalancing towards more productive use could potentially alleviate this issue.

Can we work together to address this concern?

Thank you.

3 Replies

  • th's avatar
    Resourceful Rider

    Sorry the date is July 3, 2024, not January 3. 

    • Jess's avatar
      Bike Angels Team

      Hi, th, first let me say WOW--this is really incredible. Thank you for taking the time to put this information together. I've shared this in our team channel to make sure the Bike Angels Team has insight into your work. 

      We've noticed some gaming of the system in the past and worked to take action to prevent bad actors from abusing the program. Your report is super helpful to validate cheating issues from an Angel perspective. Thank you again for posting your concerns here. We are always working to improve the integrity of the game, and your help is greatly appreciated. 

      I hope you'll return to the community in the future to share your ideas and experiences. 

      • Leslie52's avatar
        Steady Solver

        They are not really "gaming the system," sometimes there are just so many angels and other riders borrowing bikes that this occurs naturally.  The real issue problem is the issue where angels have two accounts so that they can ride to an empty station on one account and back to the other with the other one.  If they are legitimately walking back and forth and the station flips, that is just luck (and the poster above can certainly earn points with the group as well), but when they are using two accounts and not actually doing the work that is "gaming the system."  While they may not be doing that all of the time, I suspect (and have been told) that some of the leaders on the board are doing that (when no one else is around).