John Cooper takes hire bikes to the next level

Boris bikes are great aren't they? Ubiquitous and easy to ride, get you home with the wind in your hair, pig ugly, ride like a Sherman tank with the handbrake on.

Of course they're meant to be like that. If they were too attractive there wouldn't be any left and every chav and scally within the M25 would have one in his bedroom. 

It sounds mad but Buzzbike is challenging this rational and developed a free town bike service that actually offers something you might want to ride. 

Buzzbike has a fleet of single-speed cycles made by Cooper (the people behind the Mini). These are so good looking that those purveyors of style, GQ and Wallpaper magazine, have given them design awards.

The bikes are hired out on a membership basis with members of the scheme agreeing to ride to work a minimum of 12 days a month and to park the bikes on the street. This is because riders are essentially the cycling equivalent of sandwich boards, with adverts hanging over the rear wheel.

"Brands have been advertising on commuter transport for hundreds of years," said Buzzbike founder Tom Hares. "Given the growth in cycling and the culture that surrounds it, bikes felt like a natural progression." 

Sounds awful but in reality it doesn't look that bad, especially when you compare it to Boris bikes.

Buzzbikes will launch in London in September and members get everything they need to ride - lights, a Hiplok DX lock, insurance, servicing and discounts with Brooks.

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Graham Hutson