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Hit up the app - and have your mechanic by your side in as little as 15 minutes

A new startup aims to bring road rescue in the style of the AA to the kerb in London - but this time, for cyclists.

VonCrank has a fleet of mechanic cycle courier who can be summoned via an app.

Founder Cariern Clement-Pascall told BikeBiz that the service, expected to launch in March, has 120 mechanics on its books, and 2,000 users.

The company will take a 20 per cent cut from any repair bills.

While the company will launch in London, there is interest from mechanics in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Bristol.

The app, said the founder, will offfer a “premium service for less than what a bike shop would charge.”

Although mechanics do not have to have any qualifications at the moment, they have to pass an online test with pictures and videos.

"I want cyclists to pay less for their servicing so it encourages them to cycle more – maybe get three services a year rather than just one," said Clement-Pascall.

"Yes, we’re taking work away from bike shops," he said, "but there’s some stuff that we won’t do and we’ll leave that to a bike shop. This cuts down on the amount of tools mechanics need to carry."

According to BikeBiz, To have their bikes diagnosed by a VonCrank mechanic, consumers can upload a video of the problem their bike is exhibiting. This alerts VonCrank mechanics to the type of job on offer, and the tools likely to be required.

"We have two tiers of mechanics," said Clement-Pascall.

"Ones who can do just puncture repairs and basic servicing, carrying certain levels of tools and spare parts. Then we have ones who have a greater inventory and skills, usually learnt through us."

One online user of VonCrank said: "I had a puncture on the way to work... VonCrank came to the school I work at and quickly fixed it before home time! A really friendly service... I don't know why I every bothered with bike shops?"

Another said: "Great friendly service. Had my brakes, chain and cassette change all very quickly, and all done whilst I was in the office. Saving me loads of trouble and time. "

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.