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Free bikes for (some) London commuters with fewer catches than you might think

Essentially mobile billboards – only a bit better looking than that makes them sound

The premise is simple. If you’re willing to ride to work at least 12 times a month and can lock the bike on the street, Buzzbike may be able to give you a Cooper single speed bike on which to travel. They can afford to do this because the bike in question will have adverts on it.

The scheme was officially launched on Wednesday at The Design Museum. The bikes aren’t due on the streets until September, but those interested can now apply via Buzzbike’s website. There’s also a CrowdCube page through which you can buy shares. They’re looking to raise £350,000.

The bike, designed by Cooper of Mini fame, is single speed and features a Reynolds frame and Brooks saddle. You also get an annual service, integrated lights, a Hiplok DX bike lock and insurance as well as discounts on Brooks gear.

There’s also a Buzzfeed phone app which is used to ensure you are complying with the needs of the advertiser.

As for who’s eligible, that’s likely to depend on the company name adorning your oversized rear mudguard. The first deal is with online payments firm Braintree and according to The London Evening Standard this means you’ll need to work in Shoreditch – because that’s where they want to advertise. Presumably if other firms get involved in the future, they’ll have different requirements.

Buzzbike co-founder Tom Hares said:

“Brands have been advertising on commuter transport for hundreds of years. Given the growth in cycling and the culture that surrounds it, bikes felt like a natural progression. The technology we’ve developed allows brands to create surprising and fully integrated brand experiences, whilst providing Londoners with a completely free way to get around the city.”

Much the same idea underpins AdBike, which has recently launched in Newcastle. Rather than being aimed at commuters it is instead geared towards students who will be paid according to the exposure they give to brands featured on the bikes. Again, campaigns are likely to be targeted at particular areas but unlike Buzzbike, cyclists will be rewarded for putting more miles in.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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