London's new bike rental scheme, like Paris's velib scheme before it, may be a huge hit. But there's a young upstart on the block that is looking to offer an alternative to these large-scale schemes—and it says it can make ordinary bike owners some money in the process.
The idea behind Byke.Mobi is to take the thousands of unused bikes in a given city at any one time, and turn them into a mode of transportation for would-be cyclists, and a source of income for the owner. Founder Peter Abrahamson is clearly positioning himself as a cheaper and more grassroots alternative to the Mayor's scheme:
"The service was built in a week without capital investment, unlike Boris Johnson's scheme that is costing taxpayers £140million and is being introduced across London. By involving the whole community in renting out their bikes, we are short-circuiting the need for a large taxpayer investment."
The byke.mobi website is clearly as utilitarian and no-frills as it comes. But then that seems to be in keeping with the company's reason for being.