Design Responses > About Schemes > Bicycle Advocacy & Community >
In 2005 the Spanish broadsheet “La Vanguardia” stimulated a new breed of cyclists around Barcelona by making a new folding bicycle available for under €100. The promotion involved collecting coupons from the paper to claim the bike at its subsidised rate between June and July 2005.
Until that time, most cyclists in Barcelona were seen on fixed-frame bikes but anecdotal reports suggest that by summer 2006 the circulation of folding bikes accounted for 20-30% of all cyclists in Barcelona.
The popularity of the bike can be largely attributed to its foldability. As storage space is limited within typical households and offices in Barcelona, the fact that it is foldable, allows the bike to be stored off public streets and therefore at much lower risk of theft. The low price-tag made this style of bike affordable to a large number of the city’s population for the first time and arguably this one promotion played a key role in spring-boarding the increase in the number of active daily cyclists in Barcelona between 2005-06 from 25,000-40,000, prior to the introduction of the city’s Bicing public bike in 2007.
From an anti-crime perspective the low cost of the bike diminishes the attraction of theft, however its new-found cult status and desirability may have the opposite effect making it a victim of its own success.