Buzzbike has teamed up with Cooper (of Mini fame) bikes, who are providing the fleet of cycles. Riders pay a £100 deposit on sign up, which is returned at the end of the agreement, and are provided with a bike, plus a Hiplok DC bicycle lock, lights, insurance and servicing. In return they have to agree to cycle to work for a minimum of 12 days a month and park their bike on the street. This will allow the advertising on the bike to be seen, plus brands will also get access to data from the Buzzbike app which must be used by riders.
The first phase of the Buzzbike scheme begins in the autumn, and is backed by payment platform Braintree. Initially it will consist of only 100 bikes, though the plan is to launch a further 1,000 next spring (Buzzbike is running a crowdfunding campaign to support the later launch and also the evolution of the digital platform). For the project to work, customers must of course use the bikes, and will forfeit the deposit if they don’t – though Hares stresses that they are trying to be reasonable about this and will adjust the targets if a user is ill or if the weather is particularly bad one month.Buzzbike designed by Eley Kishimoto
Buzzbike designed by Smithtown
Buzzbike designed by Universal Everything
The arrangement with brand partners is also that the bikes will be ‘clustered’ in order to attract attention. This means that the areas where users live and work play a part in whether they will be chosen to take part in the scheme. “We localise the campaigns,” Hares explains. “The way we sign people up is largely on their home postcode and their work postcode, most importantly their work. Then we get a sense of where they’re going to be parking the bike – because they have to park on the street – and that allows us to cluster those campaigns so the bikes are going to be seen.”
So, initially at least, this isn’t a free bike scheme for just anyone – you will have to be based somewhere useful to the brands. “But ideally over time we can be as inclusive as possible, and get as many out there as possible, as we sign up with more brand partners,” says Hares.