Students at five universities are currently competing to try and secure a Santander Cycles hire scheme for the places where they study, with two institutions – and potentially, the wider community – set to benefit should the entrants successfully crowdfund the money to operate it.
Under the Santander Cycles University Challenge competition, launched in January this year, students from 25 universities were provided with consultancy and coaching from Nextbike and Crowdfunder to develop their own cycle hire schemes.
Five universities made the shortlist, and earlier this month each of them launched campaigns on Crowdfunder in which they are aiming to raise the money necessary to run their proposed cycle hire scheme for a year.
To actually secure the scheme – and the £100,000 up-front costs which will be met by Santander Cycles – they will have to beat their Crowdfunder target, with the two doing so by the greatest percentage emerging as winners.
The four-week funding campaign which is open until 8 December, is roughly at its midway point and only one group of students, from Swansea University, are close to halfway to meeting their target, with 46 per cent raised of the £53,178 they are seeking.
Next is the University of Birmingham, where students have raised 36 per cent of their target, followed by the University of Portsmouth at 33 per cent, Brunel University London at 24 per cent and finally the University of Surrey with 9 per cent.
You can access all of the project pages on Crowdfunder via the competition’s page on the crowdfunding platform.
Assuming two of the institutions meet their targets, the schemes will be rolled out in spring next year with 50 bikes each and the possibility to expand them in the future.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.