A Chat with Alexandra Rico-Lloyd, Co-Founder at Bike Subscription Service: The Bike Club

The Bike Club is the UK’s first monthly kids’ bike subscription service, offering high-quality kids bikes that can be exchanged as children grow. Founded in 2016 by myself and my husband James, we also offer kids’ and adult scooters, and a range of accessories such as helmets and lights.

We currently have over 36,000 members, and recently secured £7.5m in debt facility funding to help us expand and meet the incredible demand we’re experiencing. Increasing numbers of people are looking for an alternative to the traditional model of bike ownership, and are looking for subscription services which are more sustainable, flexible, and affordable.

Members of the Bike Club simply choose a bike, set up a monthly payment, and then it’s delivered directly to their door. When the child grows out of the bike, we exchange it for the next size up. With sustainability and the circular economy a key focus of ours, we also have a reCycle scheme in place, where we buy and refurbish certain bikes, and then send them out to new families.
 
 
What is the Bike Club?
 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
The credit there goes to James, my boyfriend at the time, and now husband and co-founder. He’s always coming up with (mostly) excellent ideas for businesses. As keen cyclists, we realised that for kids bikes there was a much better model than traditional ownership. Sizing is so important for children when they first start riding, and for many families the idea of constantly buying and selling bikes to ensure the right fit just isn’t feasible.

We began by renting bikes to friends and family, experimenting with different models for the business. Once up and running, we initially operated the entire business out of our third-storey flat – doing everything from preparing and checking the bikes, to arranging dispatch and running the consumer facing side.

Fast forward to today, and we have a 25,000-square-foot warehouse and workshop in Rainham and employ over 70 members of staff. As membership has grown, we’ve also expanded our offering to ensure families have everything they need to give children a truly enjoyable riding experience, benefiting from a skill that lasts a lifetime.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
As was the case for so many businesses, we initially found it to be an incredibly difficult time. We were able to introduce new ways of working, to make sure that we could keep our team safe, whilst continuing to supply people with bikes.

Demand for bikes across the board boomed during this period, with people feeling more confident to get out on bikes when the roads were quieter. As a result we did see a positive impact on our business, and we’re still experiencing that now.

More importantly, our members really valued the Bike Club during the past year and a half. We received a huge number of emails and messages from families who’ve described the bikes as their lifeline during lockdowns – and that’s something that has really kept the team motivated.
 

What can we hope to see from the Bike Club in the future?

 
The debt facility funding we recently secured will allow us to continue expanding, and we have an aim of growing our membership to 150,000 across the UK. We’re always looking to expand our offering, taking on feedback from our members.

As a company, we believe that everyone should be able to experience the benefits and joy that cycling can provide. We’re supportive of improved infrastructure to keep children safe on the roads, and have recently announced a partnership with the Bikeability Trust to expand access to both high-quality bikes and training for the next generation of riders.

It continues to be an incredible time for cycling, and we can’t wait to see more and more members of the Bike Club out on their bikes in the months and years ahead.