‘The Netflix of bikes’: will a bicycle rental scheme catch on? | The Guardian

Sat 13 Jun 2020 
Buzzbike hopes to tempt workers returning to the office as lockdown eases to try out its scheme

Thinking about cycling to work when the office reopens but not sure whether it’s really you? How about trying a no-strings-attached bike subscription service that you can cancel at any time?

Popular for several years in Europe – in particular, the Netherlands – bike leasing has arrived in London – and for many it could be a great way to try bike commuting without having to buy the bike.

The Dutch firm Swapfiets pioneered the concept in Delft in 2014. Since then, it has expanded across the Netherlands and into Belgium, Germany and Denmark.

The model is popular, particularly among students, because it allows users to pay a flat monthly fee from €16.50 (£14.70) on a rolling monthly contract. The basic one-geared bike is insured and if you have a problem the company whizzes round to fix it. Consumers love it because if they decide that cycling is not for them, they leave town – or buy their own bicycle – then they simply give the bike back and walk away. Recently, the company has added geared and electric bikes, too.