Keep your bike safe and secure when it's away from home - and you.
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What can you do if you need to lock your pride a joy up all day, but your workplace, or your favourite shop, doesn’t have safe bike storage? Spokesafe might just have the answer
One of the bugbears of riding a bike to work or to the shops is the worry about not having anywhere safe to leave it. Yes, diehards will always use a decent lock and secure it to a lamppost. Better yet they might lock it to a Sheffield stand – that classic British design. But would you leave it there all day? If your workplace or favourite retail outlet doesn’t have an enclosed safe and secure bike storage facility then what’s your next best option?
We present Spokesafe. It’s a start-up that appeared below the streets of London with its first secure bicycle storage and locker system in a car park not far from Oxford Circus. The concept is simple: a deal is done with a car park to use some available space that is screened off and made safe for bike storage. Racks and stands are installed along with repair stations, e-bike charging points and lockers for kit and personal items. Simple. Obviously, the catch is that there is a charge – something diehard commuters have to get their head around. But at a pay as you go rate of £3 for whole day (and from £1.50 a day on monthly contracts) we believe that it is security worth paying for. After all, it is almost like extra insurance for your bike. And if you do choose to commute each day and you have invested in bicycle insurance there might be a chance you can gain a better deal if you make sure your bike is safe and secure everywhere you go – not just at home under lock and key.
Max Wilson is the founder of Spokesafe.
“I’ve always lived in major cities such as London, New York, Los Angeles and Bristol and I’ve never driven a car and always pursued an active lifestyle – riding my bike, walking and taking public transport. It makes sense to me to move around cities that way. The property company that I was previously working for had a 2 year waiting list for bike parking in the basement. That seemed ridiculous to me, so I investigated other options, and despite what we think, there is a lot of space in our cities that isn’t used.”
The immediate solution was car parks.
“We looked at containers, locker systems and in the end kept the option simple. The Oxford Circus bike park opened in March 2019 and I funded it myself. After that, and once we refined the offer and promoted it, we obtained funding via Bethnal Green Ventures and a small group of Angel Investors. We opened Soho in July last year, Mayfair opened a couple of weeks ago and Covent Garden has just launched” says Max.
Both Oxford Circus and Soho were busy really quickly. Riders can buy individual memberships and companies can rent out multiple spaces for their staff. It has proved a popular offer and during last summer and into the autumn, despite lockdown, Spokesafe were flat out busy. Max takes up the story,
“Understandably people are not travelling into work so much at the moment and we have seen the use of the facilities tail off, but it will come back. The data about cycling in London and across the UK speaks volumes for the market. There’s a definite customer base, and fortunately the real estate market is starting to see the value that secure parking can bring which gives us lots of options in terms of opening new sites. Cyclists want a simple, secure, safe and no frills offer – that’s what we give them. They buy bike peace of mind.”
Max is ambitious too. Spokesafe is not just about car parks. It is all about secure bike parking as a networked service. That means above ground and on the street. He and his team are busy developing an offer that will rival the cycle hangar concept. He explains,
“We want to combine a secure hangar idea, or locker, with technology. Our system will allow a rider to see if there is space available in a nearby secure location and then book and access that space instantly through their phone. The idea is to provide a flexible, secure bike parking offer which is driven by technology, a bit like the Boris Bike network but for storing your own bike. This helps with capacity too - if you figure that existing space is not occupied all the time, why not think of a way to provide wider access to these closed off spaces? And this is what our system does - it makes this space more accessible, more flexible and safer.”
Right now Spokesafe is a London only brand. But there is every reason to believe the concept will grow beyond the smoke and into the rest of the UK. Watch this space for updates.
More details at: www.spokesafe.com
Contact Andrew Brown on 07795 547069
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