Joe’s Bike Storage saves 3 tonnes of emissions…

Marc Tunguz

Marc Tunguz


Last week London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) came into force. The move is expected to freshen the air of our capital city and, together with pollution-cutting measures already introduced, is anticipated to remove 30% of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from road transport in 2021. Londoners can breathe easier. Except on Christmas Day, when inexplicably, you’ll be able to drive your diesel guzzler through central London with impunity. 

Transport in cities is a perplexing conundrum for urbanists. Moving people from place-to-place in built-up areas accounts for a large proportion of pollution. We need high-tech, high-cost, ultra-clean solutions then. Like hyperloops that see customers climb into tubes and fired around town at 670mph. Perhaps not: among the ambitious projects competing to solve the problem of city mobility there’s one simpler than the rest of the pack – or peloton.

The bicycle has in recent years developed all manner of virtuous associations. It makes you healthier – an hour going at a fair lick will rid you of 600 calories, according to Cyclescheme. It makes you live longer – 14% longer than non-cyclists, according to the International Journal of Sports. And it decreases the use of cars, taxis, buses and trains.

Little wonder then that of all the money London scoops in charges – estimated to be £1m each day – a large proportion will be put towards walking and cycling schemes. London isn’t the only place pedalling a future on two wheels. Paris has announced an intention to become “100% cyclable” by 2026. That means $250m invested in redesigning the city in favour of the bicycle – 180 kilometres of cycle lanes, 450 kilometres of dedicated paths on roads.

But recent years have shown that boosting bike use comes with issues of its own. For instance, the plans in Paris are about designing a better cycling experience, but also to make citizens more friendly to cyclists. A new street code will give bikers priority – as well as trams and buses. A big initiative for children will usher in a new generation of cycling enthusiasts.

Another gripe is all those frames chained to railings, cluttering up the streets. A lack of good places to store bikes means fewer people use them to commute. It doesn’t help that bike theft in London is so rife that the Metropolitan Police receive a call reporting one stolen every three minutes. These are major problems, putting the brakes on cycling as a solution to urban mobility – three out of four commuters in London would cycle to work, if employers offered better facilities, according to Graham Coffey & Co, a legal firm.

Fortunately, one of our clients is helping to solve this problem. Joe’s Bike Space is a start-up which – like all the best ones – has a very simple idea: safe, smart inner city bike storage accessible anytime. A spot costs £2.75 – which is less than most commutes. The team at Joe’s reckon that a 250 capacity bike space saves 3 tonnes of emissions, burns 563,000 calories and halves the number of sick days per week. Now that’s a revolutionary idea.

We are at our most content as a BCorp digital product design studio building products like Joe’s Bike Space that can make a positive environmental impact.

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