Brompton Bike Hire

Posted by Tony Walker on

Hiring a Brompton.

Having trialed a Brompton Bike Hire last week we felt it was worth commenting upon a very different experience. Whilst the scheme is not in direct competition with the myriad of bike share schemes in many cities the comparison will often be made even though the expected utilisation of these bikes will be quite different. The bikes are available in many cities across the UK, generally at mainline rail stations (not just London) with 6 sites in Birmingham and 2 in central London and 16 in the Greater London area for example, availabilty displayed here - Brompton Locations.

Whilst this is a different experience to the bike sharing schemes we have used and reported on it is worth reviewing the similarities and differences overall:

Category

Brompton Bike Hire

Bike Sharing

Area of usage

UK

Single city (or geo-fenced area within)

Charging structure

Annual charge plus daily hire rates

Annual charge plus daily hire rates*

Unlocking

Pre-booked via the app and a release code provided

Generally turn up and pay (some pre-book via app available)

Parking

Docked

Docked and Dockless

Charging unit

Charged as a daily rate

Charged as a per minute usage

Bikes

Classic Brompton:

·      Light

·      Responsive

·      Quick

Hire bikes

·      Robust

·      Anti-theft/vandalism

·      Heavier

At your meeting

Fold it and take it with you

Find a docking station   

* see our Blog for the nuances as it is not a binary subject A users guide to bike sharing (financial) - updated October  and the Beryl Bikes

 The bikes are "hired" from a storage unit that the bikes are locked in, they are booked via the app which provides a release code and importantly when you want to return the bike, a locking code. There is a pictorial on the bike as to the folding and unfolding process, which as an uninitiated Brompton user I did require a little knowledge for a quick and smooth process, but genuinely as a first time probably took me 2 mins max. Obviously the benefit of cycling the Brompton over a "Boris" bike is clear, it is so much easier to get around town.

Now the major twist:

You fold the bike and take it to your meeting - you are paying per day; no looking for a bike rack at the last minute to find it's a 10 minutes walk from the meeting that is already starting (as normally happens to me when I least need it).

The fee structure is very simple:

Annual charge

Annual Fee

Daily Hire Charge

Frequent user

£25

£3.50

Leisure user

£5

£6.50


So far what we have described is a direct competitor to the the bike share scheme; but it isn't. There are only a relatively small number of bikes, in Central London there are no more than 20 storage units for bikes, so using on a daily basis would be a challenge (I used these bikes last week as London was getting very quiet). But consider a different model, if I'm travelling to Cambridge for a few meetings, I can hire the bike in London and take it on the train and use it for the day, returning in the evening - or a weekend away. Or travelling into London and hiring the bike and keeping it with you for the time you are there etc. It's a different mindset but very practical.

Very happy cycling between meetings for the day I had the Brompton and was tempted to keep it overnight and use the next day (before all the meetings where cancelled). So eventually parked it back at the Brompton Dock, the great combination of a folding helmet and a folding bike for the day (the Blue Rose design is going to be available soon).

 

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