4 Dec 2012

Grand Scheme Bike Share company gears up for expansion

A bike share company which developed its pioneering technology with support from Newcastle Science City is gearing up for growth after winning three new rental system contracts at three new sites.

Cycling enthusiasts Rob Grisdale and Jack Payne have launched Grand Scheme Bike Share to provide simple, low infrastructure bike hire systems that are quicker and cheaper to install than other systems.

They designed and launched a simple text message operated rental system, ScratchBikes, at Newcastle University in 2010. After attracting sponsorship for a city-wide expansion, 100 of their bikes can now be picked up from 22 docking stations across Newcastle.

Working with Science City’s business support team to protect the technology with a patent, Grand Scheme has now launched the new BYKER™ rental system. Users simply enter an access code on the solar powered handlebar unit to retrieve a security tagged key for the bike lock.

BYKER™ is still based on minimal on-street infrastructure and requires little more than standard bike racks and a signpost. New on-bike features include GPS tracking, solar charging and anti-theft devices.

After winning new contracts Grand Scheme is now set to launch three BYKER™ powered schemes in early 2013, one in Ireland at the National University of Ireland in Galway and two more in the UK at Sunderland University and Oxford.

Rob Grisdale said: “Traditional infrastructure heavy bike share schemes cost up to £4,000 per bike just to get it on the ground. By using cutting edge technology and a more pragmatic approach our systems cost around £1,500 per bike, even for small numbers of bikes.

“We’re here to make it much easier, cheaper and quicker for anyone to set up a bike scheme on any scale from a single station for an office or hotel to a full city-wide scheme. We’re really excited to get our first three BYKER powered schemes out there.”

Matt Hindhaugh, business mentor at Newcastle Science City, said: “Grand Scheme is a perfect example of the ground-breaking technological ideas that are being developed in Newcastle and have potential to positively impact on the rest of the world.

“With the new technology now in production, Grand Scheme is now making bike sharing feasible for cities, universities and organisations across the globe.”

Grand Scheme Bike Share is one of hundreds of North East science and technology businesses that Newcastle Science City has worked with to commercialise new insight-led ideas, helping them to innovate and grow.

Newcastle Science City is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, securing £2.3million of ERDF investment. The ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013 is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.

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