It's not sport.

It's transport.

I built and ran this startup aimed at helping Londoners start cycling. Our service design — Dutch-bike subscriptions — began with research I did showing that many diverse Londoners want to cycle, and highlighting two areas where innovation might help them do it:  1. Transport not sport; 2. Design out pain points. Our service made it easy & affordable to access everything the average new cyclist does (and doesn’t) need to get from A to B by bike.

Mudguards? Lights? A lock? For sure. Lycra? Carbon fibre? Sports hydration backpacks? Often a bit much for most people making ordinary trips. As well as the kit they needed, we gave customers theft-insurance, 48-hour repairs/replacements and — crucially — the confidence to ride a bike as an everyday person, free from the sports-mindset and all the faff that brings. The subscription cost £9/week, about one third as much as a weekly bus pass.

Over eighteen months, with huge help from friends and volunteers, I designed the service, brand and website, advertised and built a waiting list, secured investment, wrote rental agreements, set up online payment systems and bought, kitted out & delivered 25 bikes (by bike!) You can read more about the research and design process in the project write-up.

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Brand design

Everyday Bikes needed to feel like a reliable, practical and modern transport service. This informed the brand name, tone of voice and look and feel. I borrowed cues from trusted transport brands like Uber and Volkswagen. Clean lines and simple graphic shapes, like those found on road signs, in bold and fresh complementary colours. This was accompanied by our photography, shot on London's bike lanes.

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The innovation was successful in that it helped diverse Londoners start cycling for the first time. It helped others cycle more and it reduced our customers' emissions. Some customers were with us from our first week until our final week. Some who had never cycled in London, now say it’s their default mode of transport, even after Everyday Bikes has closed. You can read more about the impact on pages 31-32 in the project write-up.

Closing Everyday Bikes

After 18 months of operating, well-established and well-funded competitors with similar services had now-launched in London. I realised that the positive impact of our bike subscription service would continue, whether it was my company doing it or someone else’s.

This was good news, and it was also freeing. I was spending my time running a startup instead of designing an experience and brand that people love, which was not playing to my strengths. It became clear that growing the company to have a meaningful impact on the number of cyclists would be a five-year journey (at least), tying me to this lifestyle for longer than I wanted.

The explicit “cycle transport” narrative remains unique to Everyday Bikes. I hope this will be picked up by others as it is one of the things that people told us helped them start and continue making journeys by bike.

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Got a project?

I'm available for freelance work and consultancy. I also really love getting stuck into independent projects. Send me a few details using the form below, and let's chat about how I can help.

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