Co Bikes fairies – sprinkling a little magic across the city of Exeter

by | Jun 9, 2022 | Co bikes, News

Co Bikes, you’ve all seen them whizzing around Exeter, but how do there always seem to be bikes at a station when needed and what makes these iconic white and orange electric bikes so special?

Some might say it’s magic. Other’s might say luck, but we will let you into a little secret, it’s a little bit of both. Over the past three years, since the scheme was relaunched, we have been working hard to bring more bikes to more locations to suit the needs of our users. We wish it were as simple as to just say, “we’ll stick a bike station here or there,” but the reality is that it takes a lot of planning, a lot of conversations and of course invaluable backing from relevant parties. Luckily (we said there was a bit of luck), we have incredible support from partners, investors and in particular the ongoing support from Devon County Council and South Western Railway that has enabled us to make wonderful things happen.

We currently have a whopping 150 Co Bikes in the network and 33 stations across Exeter and the surrounding areas, where people can hire and return bikes at their convenience. But how does there always seem to be bikes at stations when users need them? So, this is where the magic part kicks in. We have a dedicated team of bike rebalancers, aka the bike fairies (the magic bit), who travel around the city collecting bikes from the different stations and rebalance the fleet by stocking up the docking stations with bikes ready to charge overnight and fulfilling the virtual stations for use the next morning. Our team not only redistribute the bikes, but they make sure they’re working and, in a road, worthy condition. If this isn’t the case, they’re taken back to the workshop to be assessed and worked on by our talented team of bike mechanics.

Offering safe, sustainable transport is of the utmost priority as we continue our journey to net zero by 2030 in Exeter. By choosing to cycle short distances instead of opting for the car, you’re helping reduce congestion and CO2 emissions, allowing us all to move around more easily, creating cleaner, and greener spaces.

There are other benefits to traveling by bike too – it’s proven to be good for your physical and mental health. It can be sociable, you get to see parts of the city, you may never have seen before. It allows you time to reflect and calm a busy mind and it can also be so much fun. You may have heard us talking about the Co Bikes grin across our social media channels – it is 100% a real thing. The feeling you get when you set out on a e-bike for the first time is like no other. You can effortlessly get from A to B and when you whizz up a steep hill without breaking a sweat or feeling out of puff, you have a real sense of achievement and a little bit of smugness!

So, what does the rest 2022 hold for us here at Co Bikes? An exciting and busy summer that’s for sure.  We aim to have 200 bikes and 50 stations available for you lovely lot to use, and by 2024 – we’re hoping to double this number. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we work for you and the communities in which we live to bring sustainable travel solutions to street near you. From Co Bikes electric bikes to our shared Co Cars that can be hired by the hour, day, or week.

With many trips across Exeter taking less than ten minutes to complete, there really is no excuse not to travel by Co Bike. Oh, and did we mention, you can ride for only 5p per minute when you use one of our pre-pay BikeRider minutes bundles! Pretty good right!

If you’re keen to have a Co Bikes station near you, we’d love to here from you. You can add your preference to our new Request a Location page on our website.

Enjoy the grin 😊