There are so many reasons to get on your bike.

For starters bikes are cheap, especially in comparison to pretty much every other type of transport (minus walking). Bikes are also low maintenance, don’t require tax (yet) and let’s face it can make you feel a little Français.

I’m not a mad biker myself as I fear the wars between bikes and any other vehicle on the road. I am however particial to a lesuirely ride off the beaten track, y’know the type of journey that accommodates a blanket and picnic basket.

To be fair I’d probably be inclined to opt for cycling if there was more of an initiative in place with proper designated cycling lanes. When I visited Copenhagen cycling from place to place was actually a really pleasant experience and I felt safe – all very Do Ri Mi. The Danes have got it down, and since the end of October so have Oxford.

Oxford announced they will getting rid of all petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre.

In part of a scheme with and Mobike, Oxford will see an influx of bright bikes in a bid to decrease CO2 emissions. The dream is to become the world’s first zero emission zone, and I am bloody routing for them. And why not? It’s a fabulous and forward-thinking idea!

The innovative scheme was designed by Chinese company Mobike, to encourgage more people to opt for bikes as their mode of transportation when taking small trips across cities. It is both sustainable and affordable. No Excuses really.

Furthermore, unlike Boris bikes, Mobike are an app-based and dockless service. An embedded GPS system will allow app users to locate the nearest bike to their location – kind of like Uber. By scanning the code provided the bike will unlock and lock via the Internet of Things (IoT) platform.

Along for the ride is, Oxford’s highly rated bike sharing company. Teaming up, both organisations are striving to reduce Oxford’s carbon footprint as well as produce a large distribution of bikes securely and safely.

For every half an hour on the bike, the cyclist will be charged a grand total of 50p. The only thing I imagine that might put people off initially is the £29 deposit, but if you leave the bike in one piece it’s completely refundable.

I believe that with more bikes out and about road users will become more conscious and aware of their presence, which will hopefully give more people, like myself, the confidence to saddle up.

With Oxford’s vibrant bike scene already well established, the scheme will no doubt hit the ground running and hopefully encourage other Councils to get involved.

It’s good for the planet, it’s good for you and it’s a great use of technology.

Since the launch of Mobike The Ocelot caught up with Steve Pyer, Mobike’s UK General Manager, to lift the lid on this fantastic initiative.

  1. How was the vibe at Oxford’s launch day?

The launch in Oxford went very well – people are really enthusiastic about the scheme, and are looking forward to using Mobikes for their daily trips. Mobike and our partner were in the city explaining how Mobike works and handing out Halloween treats at the same time. The launch coincides with the announcement that Oxford’s ambitious goal is to become the world’s first zero emission zone.

We’re excited to contribute to this goal, and are looking forward to making a real impact on people’s pick up of cycling as an alternative transport mode, building on our existing UK track record and’s knowledge of the local cycling culture.

2. Where are you planning to take Mobike next after Oxford?

Having already successfully launched in Manchester, London, Newcastle and now Oxford, we are committed to become a long term partner for cities all over the UK.

Our recent partnership with British Cycling, and our collective commitment to put 2 million Brits on bikes by 2020, reinforces this. However, we want to take the time to discuss with government officials how to best tailor the Mobike scheme to their local needs, cycling culture and overall demand, so are spending time on these discussions before launching our services. The upcomingMobike cities will be announced in due time.

3. What do you love best about the Mobikes?

They are unique, designed by Mobike and built in Mobike owned factories. For this reason everybody in the entire supply chain has a lot of pride in the product. It is great introducing the bikes to a city for the first time, because they are so unique, they are a talking point for everyone including people that do not normally look twice at a bike let alone ride one.

4. How do you check the safety of the bikes, ready for the next user? Is it difficult to monitor?

Mobike’s operational team – in this case, the team – makes sure all bikes are safe to use before they are put on the streets. In case of any issues, users are able to report them in real time via the app.

The operational team has a quick response to these reports, and takes away any bike that needs fixing, putting them back on the road for the next user as soon as possible. More generally, Mobikes’ unique GPS technology, connected through our Internet of Things platform, helps the operational team monitor all bikes in real time, and manage supply of bikes in specific locations with high demand.

5. For people a bit uncomfortable cycling alongside road traffic, how do you encourage them to saddle up?

We encourage all Mobike users to use appropriate safety clothing – e.g. helmets  and High Viz clothing, for their own safety and to express caution when cycling in traffic at all times, as they would on any bike.

Photo credit @MobikeUk