BikeAway Ltd was established 20 years ago. At this time cycling was mainly seen as a weekend hobby for families and there were very few commuter bicycles on the roads. Sustrans, with funding from the UK government, were promoting cycling to school. Their idea was to get students to see cycling as a way to get around rather than as a recreational activity in the way their parents did.
I was a machine operator and designed and built my first steel bike locker. I thought that when this generation of cyclists starts working they are likely to buy a better quality bike. Having somewhere safe to keep it is essential. With no money to promote my steel bike locker, I put it in the back of a van and took it to show the editor of Mountain Biking UK Magazine who did an editorial on it. The locker design was to store bikes horizontally. At this time was one of the first bike lockers to ever be built. The week after publication the Managing Director of Sainsbury’s supermarket – who happened to be a keen cyclist and reader of MBUK – phoned up and asked to come and see it.
The factory is based in Plymouth and his family were catching a ferry from Plymouth to Spain for their holiday, so he stopped by en route to have a look. He was not happy with the horizontal storage of the bike, however. Firstly, it entailed a big footprint; and secondly, it also required a large amount of space to remove the bike.
Sainsbury’s wanted bike storage lockers for their staff at stores. They wanted to put them in the service yard which was very tight on free space. This was when I suggested a locker which holds the bike vertically. He agreed to come back by the factory on his return from holiday, which gave me two weeks to design a safe and easy-to-use vertical locker.
Fortunately, he liked it and Sainsbury’s gave me my first order of 6 lockers for each of their stores. They had 600 in the UK at the time. That meant 3,600 lockers! The great thing was I could deliver them in any time scale that suited me and this enabled me to launch BikeAway Ltd.
To date, I have sold over 12,000 vertical bike lockers throughout the UK and Ireland and this has given me a great insight into how cycling has developed over the years. The main driving force behind modern cycling is the bike industry. In the last 3–4 years technology has played a massive part in the modern-day commuter bike. Sales of high-quality bikes have grown, fuelled by the success of British cycling at the London Olympics, continuing success in the Tour de France and many other major cycling competitions.
Furthermore, this generation of cyclists see cycling as a way of life and with the money they save by perhaps not running a second car or using public transport for the shorter journeys, they can much more easily afford a good quality bike. This is what the cycle industry has cashed in on.
5 years ago an expensive bike would have been £200–300 today a quality bike is £2000–3000 and the biggest growth market in the cycle industry is an e-bike (electric bike). This opens cycling up to a greater number of people (a bigger market). The prices for these start at £1000 and go up to over £6000.
Bikes thefts are also increasing as a result. In 2017, 100,000 insured bikes were stolen in the UK. 290,000 bike thefts were reported to the police. Incidentally, many of these thefts take place at railway stations. This is detrimental to the cycling industry and BikeAway is trying to address this.
Working with ‘Secured by Design’ we have now got a second attack standard which is not only the preferred standard for SBD but is also widely recognised as the approved standard for the insurance industry. LPS 1175 (Loss Prevention Standard 1175), which is a building standard, required only Level 1 – their lowest attack standard. SBD set up this standard set 12 years ago (attack time 1 minute levering bar 300mm long). The new standard is a Cycle Security Standard by Sold Secure which has three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
BikeAway has now developed a locker that has got a Gold-rated Sold Secure Cycle Parking Standard (attack time 5 minutes; tools include 600mm crowbar, lump hammer and bolster). The product name is ‘The Warrior’ and with these credentials many modern-day cyclists find it very desirable.
It is important to understand that there is no single answer to cycle parking. Someone riding a bike worth £100 might require far less security for bike parking than someone riding a bike worth £1000. Individuals riding more expensive bikes will be happy to pay for parking. The key is, they want to be able to get insurance on their bikes.
BikeAway manages and rents the lockers to the cyclists. This enables BikeAway to recoup the cost of the locker (we rent over 2,500 lockers in London and with the railway industry in Dublin).
Essentially, we install The Warrior locker at a railway station wanting secure cycle parking. Maybe there have already been bike thefts, for example. Alternatively, maybe customers are asking for it. BikeAway charges the cyclist £5 per week or £2.50 per week for people wanting a long-term contract. BikeAway maintains the lockers and recoups the cost of the locker from the rent. Once BikeAway has recouped the cost of the locker the additional rent goes to the BikeAway’s client, i.e. the company managing the station. For busier train stations we can charge a £1 per day.
This means the station manager – for example Network Rail or a train operating company – is able to state “Sold Secure Gold cycle parking available at the station” on their website. You can do this as long as you steer customers to the managed Warrior lockers which would be on your website if you wished. Cyclists find this very appealing. Importantly, there is no charge to the station managers. The revenue received by the manager for ground rent over the 40-year life of the locker is £2,250 at secondary stations and £10,900 at busier stations.
We also cater for e-bikes with our NO2CO2 E-Warrior. It features a solar panel on the roof to charge the e-bike. This too is at no cost to the station manager. In addition, we promote a cycle-to-work reward scheme through the locker users. The idea is that if one cyclist commutes to work using the railway station we encourage her/his work colleagues to follow suit. This increases customers for us and you, the station manager.
Secure cycle parking is in huge demand at any transport hub. The Warrior is the most secure product on the market so don’t have any doubt about its success at railway stations. What you may find interesting is the higher the rent charged the more often the locker is used.
If you have any questions or thoughts about this cycle parking scheme please contact me at [email protected]
Tel 01752 202116
I would really like to hear your thoughts.
Owner, BikeAway Ltd
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