Bike share scheme provider pedalling for export growth

Bike share scheme provider “pedalling” for export growth

A pioneering bike share company based in Newcastle is pedalling its way to export growth with the help of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

Inspired by bike hire schemes popping up across the world, Rob Grisdale and Jack Payne launched Grand Scheme Bike Share in 2010 to provide a more efficient, cost effective solution using lighter infrastructure and simpler technologies.

Driven by their love of cycling the duo reinvented the self-service bike sharing concept, designing a simple text message operated rental system and launched “ScratchBikes” at Newcastle University in September 2010.

Initially a scheme only available to students and staff, ScratchBikes, quickly attracted sponsorship from Newcastle NE1 Limited which then funded a city-wide expansion programme and the scheme was re-launched to the general public in July 2011 with 22 bike stations and 100 bikes across the city.

In June 2011, Grand Scheme secured investment to develop the completely new BYKER™ rental system, which is still based on minimal on-street infrastructure, requiring little more than standard bike racks and a signpost and offering new on-bike features including GPS tracking, solar charging and anti-theft devices.

Keen to spread its wings and develop new international markets, the company enlisted the support of UKTI’s Passport to Export programme and commissioned an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) report to explore opportunities in Ireland.

Grand Scheme is now set to deliver 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 the Headington area of Oxford.

Rob Grisdale, CEO of Grand Scheme Bike Share Ltd, said:

“The Newcastle ScratchBikes schemes is as simple as you can go and was our way of demonstrating just how streamlined and low cost bike hire schemes can be. With 2,500 members and 8,500 rentals to date, it’s been a great success.

“This success spurred us on to develop the BYKER™ system, which is based on the same principle of making the bike intelligent rather than the locking infrastructure. It offers advanced new features that other, more infrastructure-heavy and expensive systems don’t. Members simply punch in an access code into a keypad to release the bike key, unlock the bike and begin their hire.

“Our aim is to make bike sharing easily available to everyone and with the support of UKTI we’ve now secured our first overseas clients in Ireland.”

Oxfordshire County Council’s Deputy Leader Rodney Rose said:

“Cycling is a great option for getting to work and I hope the bicycles prove to be really popular with Headington commuters. We’re very pleased to be working with Grand Scheme to launch the scheme next year.”

Jayne Pickersgill, one of UK Trade & Investment’s International Trade Advisers, who has been working closely with the company, said:

“Grand Scheme has shown that with the right support and detailed market research, it is possible to secure a major new contract overseas within a relatively short timescale.

“The company hopes to continue to expand internationally and develop a global presence and we hope its success will inspire others to take up the export for growth challenge.”


For more information about the wide range of support services available through UK Trade & Investment to help your company succeed overseas contacts:

North East International Trade Team

Tel: +44 (0) 845 05 05 054


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Find your nearest International Trade Advisor via our postcode search facility in “Contacts in your region”.

Story links

Grand Scheme Bike Share

Sectors: Business Services
Countries: Ireland and North East England
Export Action Plan