Hope Technology of Lancashire is getting ready to open Hope Academy, a kids' cycling service centred on the monthly lease-hire of high-end lightweight bicycles, including pedal-free learner bikes and blinged-out MTBs. The learner bikes will be supplied by Early Rider and the MTBs will be from German-Taiwanese brand Pyga – all will be equipped with child-specific parts built in Lancashire by Hope, including disc brakes, hubs, pedal cranks, stems and headsets.
Hope Academy will be accepting sign-ups later in December. The learner bikes and MTBs will be available for £5 and £29 per month respectively.
"We see one of the largest barriers to children taking up and more importantly enjoying cycling is the quality of the bikes they ride," says a statement from Hope.
"How can this be solved when they grow so quickly? Well, how about a quality bike that grows with your child?Think bike rental, only different."
Once the bicycle has been outgrown you hand it back and get another one, this time larger. Cars are bought this way, and TV sets used to be, too (remember Radiorentals?)
"As your child grows we’ll have the next size available for them once they’re ready for it," says Hope.
Alongside a range of bikes, Hope will also be organising courses around the UK – and online tutorials – to improve junior riding, bike sizing and maintenance skills.
In September, Isla Rowntree unveiled a similar scheme: Islabike's Imagine Project would make available British-built rental bicycles for children.