New cycle scheme in Uxbridge

In Spring 2018 there will be a new docked bike scheme coming to Uxbridge, West London: Brunel Bikes. Brunel University London won a Santander sponsored crowdfunding competition to win £100k of funds to install a new scheme. 

The scheme itself (see map below) isn’t just for the University - it also includes docking station on the high street and Hillingdon Hospital. It was this community focus that helped Brunel make the final shortlist out of 23 applicants. This meant that Brunel would be fighting Birmingham, Swansea, Surrey and Portsmouth Universities to win a scheme. Our task was raising £48k. In a month.  This figure is the equivalent of the first years running cost - many schemes fail in the first couple of years due to a lack of marketing or an unstable financial model. Running a crowdfunding campaign is an intense experience - you’re convincing people to invest in an idea and in this case an idea that bikes can change a community. The businesses that sponsored the campaign definitely bought into this idea and saw the potential benefits for their staff. Luckily we also had good old fashioned rivalry to fall back on. The competition ended at 10pm on Friday 8 December and up until 9.45pm Birmingham were ahead of us. But in the last 15mins there was a sudden surge and Brunel managed to come in 2nd place going beyond the £75K stretch target. This will allow the scheme to start securely and grow quickly! 

London Cycling Campaign’s role has been threaded throughout the process mainly through a WestTrans funded pilot project: student cycle champions. LCC identified that the student market has been previously underserved in programmes designed to encourage this group to make travel habit changes. Habits you pick up in the 16-25 age bracket tend to stay with you for life therefore an cycle intervention at this stage can stay with someone for life. The first institution the champions were installed was Brunel piloting a variety of cycle related events, improving the grounds for cycling and a short term loan scheme. This meant that when the Santander competition document landed there were the resources and knowledge available to write a compelling application.

The application process was essentially creating a fully specked out docked bike scheme from land owners agreement through to architects drawings of sites. This meant that if any applicant failed they still had the bones to be able to deploy a scheme of their own if they had the funds. Further the application also asked us to plan out a crowdfunding marketing campaign and how we would launch the scheme if we won – which has, happily, worked out in our favour. 

The scheme will be launching in Spring and there are already places asking for a docking station on their land. This comes just at the time when Crossrail will be coming to the Hillingdon making the opportunity for multi platform travel a reality. This is just the beginning of a new era of travel for West London.  

Brunel scheme map