Stanislav Ivanov
Jan 15, 2016 · 3 min read

We developed a service, which makes it possible to connect public places in the city into a network of bike sharing points. Users can get a bike in seconds and return it in any connected cafe or shop. Cafebike already works in St.Petersburg and is ready for launch in other cities globally. In a nutshell, it’s the only scalable citywide bike-sharing solution which doesn’t require any specialized hardware.

Cafebike is simple

Cafebike doesn’t require automated stations or locks. Ramp up costs are less than $200–300 — just buy the bikes — and annual operation costs $30–50 on a per bike basis — you need to maintain them. It’s 10–30 times less than the costs of launching bike sharing with any other technology. Low costs make it attractive option for individuals, communities or businesses considering starting up a public bike sharing in their city as well as for traditional bicycle rental business willing to expand and increase profitability.

One of the most popular rental points with over 200 rides starting from the pizzeria in the first months of operation in St.Petersburg

Users find and request the nearest bike locked outside the cafe with cafebike.org app. Then show the verification code to the cafe manager to get the key. The operation takes 10 seconds and works even in the most busy cafes. Users can return the bike in any cafe in Cafebike network.

Cafebike benefits all

Cafebike charges 20% of user fees, rest goes straight to bike owners. Both private bike owners and companies can sign up their bikes to the system. For example, a major bike retail network is a key bike owner and bike sharing operator in St.Petersburg.

Cafes and restaurants join for free and attract more visitors. As Cafebike data shows, 4 in 10 users actually become cafe clients — stay for lunch or get a coffee to go. To assist this app notifies the user on location’s special offers upon finishing the ride. Other kinds of places willing to attract more visitors join as well — hostels, museums, retailers and even libraries are in Cafebike network already.

The preliminary sign up for managers of public places as well as for bike owners is now open globally.

Cafebike actually works

Cafebike was tested in St.Petersburg with 30 rental points and 100 bicycles. Cafebike proved to be in demand with more than 10 000 rides despite the competition from a municipal bike sharing system and lack of dedicated cycling infrastructure. With the growth of the network more users start to commute with Cafebike.

Cafebike is now looking for expansion via setting partnerships with city governments or bicycle businesses in most cities or launching own operations in selected cities. A partner gets a step-by-step plan, materials and support required for successful launch and operation. App localization challenges are already solved — payments processing system can bill users in all currencies and any language can be added in days.

Contact us at contact@cafebike.org to learn how to launch bike sharing in your city.

The New Bike-Sharing Blog

How bike-sharing innovation can ignite faster transformation of your city into more livable place. An outlook by Cafebike.org bike-sharing.

Stanislav Ivanov

Written by

Turning St.Petersburg into a cycling city | Делаю Петербург велосипедным городом

The New Bike-Sharing Blog

How bike-sharing innovation can ignite faster transformation of your city into more livable place. An outlook by Cafebike.org bike-sharing.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade