YoBike, a new bicycle sharing scheme which offers an hour’s ride for just a pound, has chosen Bristol as its European launchpad
The first large-scale scheme of its kind in the UK, YoBike will see 300 bikes delivered to Bristol this month, rising to more than 500 by the end of the month as part of a comprehensive strategy which will be rolled out across other cities in the UK.
The bike’s built-in digital technology and GPS system links to a mobile app which gives cyclists the ability to instantly unlock any of the bikes, wherever they find them. Unlike existing bike sharing schemes, YoBikes do not require a bike docking station so they can be picked up from and left in safe, legal and convenient locations.
The app itself encourages healthy living, allowing users to track their calories burned, time travelled, and reduction in carbon emissions.
Users can either pay per hour or rent a bike for 24 hours for £5. Regular cyclists can opt to buy an annual commuter pass for just £39, which entitles them to two, one-hour long rides per day.
The bike’s built-in digital technology and GPS system links to a mobile app
YoBike is the brainchild of Chinese tech entrepreneur Bin Wang, who was named as one of China’s 30 under 30 entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine in 2013.
Bin worked closely with co-founder and YoBike UK CEO Michael Qian on the design of the bikes and development of the app over the past 15 months.
Cambridge University engineering PhD Michael, who has previously worked at management consultancy McKinsey and US investment bank Merrill Lynch, said: “We’re really pleased to be launching this innovative bike scheme in Bristol – the UK’s cycling capital.
“Our fleet of bikes will help Bristol meet its target for becoming a greener city, combatting congestion and setting an inspiring example to other cities across the UK.”
“YoBike wants to promote and facilitate safe cycling, which is affordable and convenient for people living and working in the city.”
“YoBike wants to promote and facilitate safe cycling, which is affordable and convenient for people living and working in the city,” Michael added. “Our bikes are easy to use, durable and good value and thanks to our app locking system, there is no need to install costly and obstructive bike docks all over the city. We’re very proud with what we’ve created in YoBike, we really hope Bristolians will love it.”
Prisoners at the city’s HMP Bristol Prison will help assemble, maintain and repair the bikes
The company has partnered with Life Cycle, a Bristol cycling charity to maintain the bikes. Following the initial launch phase, prisoners at the city’s HMP Bristol Prison will help assemble, maintain and repair them when necessary. Life Cycle trains prisoners in the mechanic skills needed to strip down, repair and rebuild bikes, with the aim of achieving City & Guilds accredited qualifications in Cycle Mechanics.
Michael said: “This is a fantastic Bristol-based initiative and a central part of our business model. “We really look forward to partnering with similar initiatives as we expand within the UK.”
The company is working closely with the Data Science Institute, Imperial College London, to better understand how we can use our big data to improve riding experience. It is also working with Drayson Technologies to add CleanSpace environmental sensors to the YoBikes. Usage data will be shared with local government to assist with future resource planning and congestion initiatives.