Bikedispenser - the future of urban bike hire?

Dutch firm's invention could be timed perfectly

As cities around the world get geared up for commuter bike rental schemes, one Dutch company is in the right place at the right time.

The clue's definitely in the name with, a firm which has dreamt up a way of getting dozens of bikes into a confined space.

Paris' Velib bike rental service and Barcelona's Bicing scheme have both gone down a storm, but the racks where the bikes are stationed do take up a considerable amount of room. Bikedispenser's solution is to stack the bikes tightly inside a storage facility which delivers them one at a time.

The system works with specially designed bikes, with integral lights, mini wheels, and a frame geometry similar to classic fold-up designs. Up to 100 cycles can be stored in one Bikedispenser unit, just 16cm apart. Users register for a card which, when swiped across a pad on the outside of the dispenser releases a bike.

With London, New York and Chicago all considering bike rental, and other cities including Beijing and Lyon and the Spanish cities of Seville and Cordoba also on board, Bikedispenser's founders appear to have captured the zeitgeist.

A company spokesman said: "The Bikedispenser capitalizes on the idea of the bicycle as the missing, final link in the commuter’s mobility chain.

"The central idea is to create better alternatives to those imperfect solutions currently in use, such as public transportation or cars."

Bikedispensers have just been launched at two train stations in Holland, with plans for further expansion. Members of the scheme are also entitled to rental of standard bikes at 100 other locations on the country's rail network.

In Holland it costs less than 10 euros to register with Bikedispenser and under 3 euros for a 20 hour rental.


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