Londoners are getting free bikes and Hackney’s Jean Jullien has designed them for you.
The Hackney-based designer and illustrator Jean Jullien’s creative flair has been enlisted by London’s new free bike scheme, Buzzbike.
Buzzbike is a cycling scheme offering Londoners bikes for free on the condition that they ride them to work at least 12 times a month, park them on the street and pay a deposit of £100.
Famous for his cartoons that became symbols of global defiance in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Jullien’s design includes amusing cartoons creating a tongue-in-cheek print of various characters on bikes.
Jullien, 33, who grew up in Brittany and now lives in Hackney said: “The word cycle represents many things for me. The cycle of life, recycling, cycling. It’s a motion, a symbolical movement that is pretty perfectly summed up (formally) by the round shape of the bike wheel. There is a nice visual echo to its meaning.”
Buzzbike plans to co-exist with the ‘Boris bike’ hire scheme but instead of charging riders on a pay-as-you-go basis, the bikes are free of charge and are clad in the logos of sponsors.
‘Boris bikes’ were created by Transport for London and are currently sponsored by Santander, but co-founder and CEO Tom Hares explained that Buzzbikes will be the ‘polar opposite’.
Hares explained that Buzzbikes will be aimed at more casual users. “We’re very much for people who actually cycle every day, but the big difference is there’s no stand for these bikes, they become part of your life, you get to keep them 24/7,” said Hares.
The first 100 bikes will be on the streets of London in September, with another 1,000 due to arrive next spring. The bikes will be branded by whichever business wishes to be involved with the scheme, creating a creative platform for brands, powered by Londoners.
“Your bike parked on the streets of central London gives brands unique exposure in places it’s hard to be seen, while doing something good for the city,” the company explained.
“The way we sign people up is largely on their home postcode and their work postcode, most importantly their work. Then we get a sense of where they’re going to be parking the bike—because they have to park on the street—and that allows us to cluster those campaigns so the bikes are going to be seen,” Hares explained.
He said: “But ideally over time we can be as inclusive as possible, and get as many out there as possible, as we sign up with more brand partners.”
Participating brands will also get access to data from the Buzzbikes app, which riders must use together with their bikes. All data will be anonymous but cyclists will be able to track their progress.
Buzzbikes are a single speed cycle supplied by Cooper – the inventors behind the Mini. As well as the bike, riders will also receive lights, a Hiplok DX locka, insurance and servicing.
The new wheels designed by Jullien are now on exhibition in a tank on the bank of the Thames outside the Design Museum.