Talk with the designer Jann Frost on the next “Bysykkel”
Frost is working on the fine tuning of a new generation of “Bysykkel”.
There are two prototypes in the colors beige and red. The final coloring will be up to the city that will use the design. The new bike will be a little less heavy than the old one since the frame is of aluminum. It will have a belt drive, which makes maintenance easier (no chain, no oil). As in the existing model there is a 3-gears Nexus Shimano, because this is the only gearshift that survives the hard conditions use. The new bike will have lights integrated into the frame, driven by an induction dynamo inside the unit.
There is a new lever to adjust height of seat. There is also a scale on the post for better orientation. The front basket on the new bike will be smaller than on the old bike – only for handbags. Background is that one can keep an eye on ones valuables when in front. For bigger luggage there will be a back-rack, which probably will also be used for a passenger. On the old bike the back-rack was omitted, to stop passengers being taken, but there have been occasional passengers nevertheless. In that case passengers sat on the plastic wheel-case and pry it out of its holding notch; the loose casing then causes the “klonk, klonk” sound. This sound effect was not intended; it is design by accident. The new bike has only 20 inch wheels. The 24 inch back wheel in the old design was due to the desired space for advertising. Now there will be less advertising on the bikes.
Spanish users found it difficult to lift the bikes up into the stand. The new model will offer a roll in situation, where there is no need to lift the bike. Cycles will be guided into a notch with locking pins from the side. Each notch will have its own card reader, making the touch-point even more direct. The stand has a bottom plate guiding the bike, but also enabling easy set up and moving of the whole unit.
For the users advertising is not a problem. They appreciate a good service: close, reliable, cheep. In the beginning 2003/4 “Dagsavis” bought the advertising space on all bikes for a whole year. That was good, for clear channel, but also for “Dagsavis”, their circulation increased considerably. Apart from a few incidents in the beginning 2002/3 there was little theft and vandalism, not in Oslo and neither in Barcelona. People soon realized that “Bysykkel” was a standing offer and that there was no need to annex it. After returning one could always get another one. In Oslo one had to buy memberships and register by name. So there was no anonymity. That was different in Copenhagen – people only needed to deposit 10 kroner – then it was tempting not to return the bike. Next generation of bikes will be fitted with GPS – then they cannot disappear so easily.
Oslo City wanted to allocate zero funds to “Bysykkel” – all had to be financed by advertising. In the future financing will be an issue – but there are all kind of mixes for financing imaginable: all advertising or some advertising, or a lump sum from the city public transport budget. Membership fees could also be higher, especially if e-bikes will be introduced. E-bikes will extend the user population, because then terrain will be less of an issue. Frost is doing some work for “ruter”. Including the bike into the planning of a trip. With apps flexibility of use will be increased further. City-bikes will be integrated into other forms of public transport. Copenhagen plans a scheme where you can block a bike via smartphone before you get to the station. That might lead to problems when 10 bikes are blocked by 10 people that are still on their way.
The City of Oslo will give advertise the contract for tender in 2015. There will be other bidders competing with Clear Channel. Frost cooperates with Clear Channel and hopes they will win for another period. But the market is growing very fast, worldwide and there may also be other companies interested in the new design. “Møller bil” for example, bought some bikes to use for their customers while they have their cars in for repair.