Scottish entrepreneur Simon Bone has launched BikeUp, a new digital startup that seeks to disrupt the cycling industry by putting convenience at the heart of its service.
As a busy professional, Bone always struggled to find the time to get to the bike shop, particularly because most shops are only open during normal working hours. That left the weekend or holidays, which is precisely when he wanted to be out on the roads and trails.
Worse still, due to the high demand for bike servicing, waiting times were often long, meaning Bone was without his bike for weeks at a time.
Bone said: “It’s a very traditional model of delivery. Finding the time to get the bike to the shop for that much needed service can be difficult, especially when you are juggling family and work commitments.
“I want to support my local bike shop — and so does almost every other cyclist I talk to — but it’s really hard to do so when the shops aren’t open when I’m free.”
Last year, Bone decided to build a better service through the use of technology.
Working with Glasgow-based digital development agency, Digital Impact, he began to plan, design and then build BikeUp, an online service that allows cyclists to book their bicycles for collection, remote servicing and delivery.
A fully automated website allows customers to book a convenient time and location for collection, and BikeUp’s drivers and professional bike mechanics do the rest. Payment is made online through a secure service, but only once the servicing work has been started.
And when the service is complete, BikeUp delivers the bike back to the customer’s home or work at a convenient time.
On the initial public reaction to BikeUp, Bone said: “We launched BikeUp at the Scottish Cycling, Running & Outdoor Pursuits Show earlier this year and the response was amazing. I had cyclist after cyclist telling me they had experienced the same problem as me. That was when I knew that the cycling community wanted BikeUp.”
Since its launch, Bone has continued to grow the business, buoyed by outstanding repeat business, corporate contracts in Glasgow and word-of- mouth referrals.
And Bone sees huge opportunities for growth ahead: “Cycling participation in the UK has exploded in recent years, and we only expect this to increase due to government initiatives such as the Cycle to Work scheme and cycling infrastructure investment.”
This, however, is just the start for Bone. He is currently working on a plan to scale the business by packaging BikeUp as a platform that local bike shops and mechanics can use to augment their existing services, similar to sharing-economy businesses such as Deliveroo and Laundrapp.
He said: “We don’t consider existing bike shops to be our competitors. We’ve developed a digital platform and logistics operation that existing bike shops and independent mechanics can utilise in order to grow their customer base. And the great thing is, customers benefit from the convenience whilst continuing to support their local bike shop.”