Soon you will be able to shed the anxiety of bicycle ownership while still having one in the shed – your subscription bike.
For people constantly worried about their valuable bike being stolen, why not subscribe and let someone else – the real owner – worry about replacement.
And if the upfront price for a new, quality, ebike for a long commute is a bit rich, well you can subscribe to one of those too.
Behind the initiative is Dutch bike firm VanMoof, best known for innovative technology including integrated Bluetooth locks and GPS trackers that enable the bikes to be recovered if stolen.
They are about to launch the subscription system in the US, with other markets to follow.
For $25 a month subscribers can get unlimited exclusive access to their VanMoof Smart Bike as long as they need it, including free maintenance and theft recovery service.
Subscribers pick up their bike at their nearest VanMoof store, where they are returned for maintenance or repair.
Although subscribers can take their bikes anywhere, the company said the program is most convenient for subscribers who live close to a VanMoof store so they can bring the bikes in for maintenance.
Subscribers who travel to another city with a VanMoof store are able borrow a bike there.
Subscribers can end their contract by returning the bike to a store. Or they can sell the subscription to another user to defray the cost of the startup fee.
“By making quality, high-tech smart bikes accessible to a large audience, VanMoof’s hopes to transform the ways we move in cities and improve the U.S.’s urban mobility as a whole,” the company said.
“The subscription plan removes riders’ most common barriers: cost, maintenance and fear of theft," the company said.
The company said the high quality and durability of its bikes increases their life span and makes the subscription plan more viable.
"The better the quality of our bikes, the longer people can ride them, the lower the monthly cost of the subscriptions can be. We’ve been working towards this win-win situation ever since we started 9 years ago," said Taco Carlier, who co-founded the company with his brother, Ties, in 2009.
Subscriptions to the SmartBike opened in the US this week.
A subscription to the latest SmartBike model has a start-up fee of $250 and then a $25 monthly fee. The bike retails for $1175.
VanMoof will launch a new ebike model in next month that will be available for a subscription.