Bike Club: London-based childrens’ bike subscription service raises £16.75 million in new investment

·2-min read
James Symes with children on the subscription service bikes (handout)
James Symes with children on the subscription service bikes (handout)

A fast growing London-based childrens’ bike subscription service has raised £16.75 million in new investment to fund expansion across Britain and into Europe.

Bike Club, chaired by Fitness First founder Mike Balfour, is already the largest bike subscription scheme in the UK but now plans to launch in France and Germany.

The company was founded in 2016 by London entrepreneurs James Symes and Alexandra Rico-Lloyd and offers families the chance to subscribe to new or refurbished bikes and scooters online and then exchange them for bigger models every year or 18 months as their child grows.

The subscriptions cost between £4.49 to £15.99 per month and the company already has access to a fleet of 40,000. With the new investment it plans to increase this to 220,000 over the next three years. The subscriber base is set to more than double to 80,000 in the next year.

Mr Symes, a father of three who was previously a special adviser to the chairman of accountants KPMG, said: “The pandemic, together with the growing trend for health and wellbeing, has spurred a significant uptick in family cycling and demand continues to be at its highest level in decades. Bike Club is on a mission to disrupt family cy-cling meaning you never need to buy a kids bike again.”

The latest funding round is being led private equity firm Circularity Capital along with existing investor Codex Capital.

Mr Symes added: “Children grow fast, making this year’s bike, next year’s headache. Not to mention the cost associated and the impact on the planet due to waste. To ensure they experience the benefits of riding the perfect-sized wheels, a parent would need to buy eight different bikes before their child has turned 12 years old.

“Cycling is one of the very best ways for children to get active, build confidence and develop vital skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. Yet, bikes can be a cost-ly burden for both families and the environment and manufacturing just one bike results in emissions of 96 CO2* (kg) in greenhouse gases. And with around 12.5 million unused bikes in the UK alone, there are millions of sheds and garages across the globe that have become unnecessary graveyards for outgrown bikes.”

Customers can choose from a selection of bike brands including Frog, Forme, Strider, Woom, Puky, Squish and Isla.

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