Design Responses > About Bike Hire Schemes >
The First Generation - White Bikes
Public Bicycles are not a new idea. Some of the earliest examples of this type of initiative stem from Amsterdam, initiated by the ‘godfather’ of public bicycle schemes, Luud Schimmelpenink during the 1960’s, with progressive iterations of his ‘white bike’ and similar programmes appearing since. Other early schemes were also introduced in La Rochelle, France (1974) and other parts of northern Europe and Scandanavia.
Problems with the ‘first generation’ on-street versions of these initiatives were largely linked to theft or abandonment (in rivers, trees, to other cities etc.) of the standard-spec bicycles, which were made freely available, or with minimal security built into the service. A ‘free bike’ scheme trialled in Cambridge in 2003 is reported to have lost all its 300 bikes on the first day.