VanMoof cofounder Taco Carlier using one of many firm’s e-bikes.


The scenes of individuals cramming onto a London Underground practice on Monday had been sufficient to ship a shiver down the backbone of anybody who has been conserving half a watch on the coronavirus disaster.

U.Okay. Well being Minister Matt Hancock urged the general public to attempt to get to work by bicycle Tuesday after being challenged concerning the concern by ITV present “This Morning.”

“Individuals ought to keep away from public transport until they completely have to make use of it, as a result of it’s safer when there’s fewer individuals on it,” Hancock mentioned.

“You say not everyone can cycle, that is true, however heaps extra individuals can than do and now is definitely a superb time to begin biking to work as a result of there’s hardly any site visitors on the roads so it is way more nice to cycle than in regular instances.”

Final week, the U.Okay. authorities introduced a £2 billion bundle “to create a brand new period for biking and strolling.” That features £250 million to determine new bike lanes and safer junctions in England. Comparable initiatives are being introduced in different nations: German cities are re-marking roads to create “pop-up” cycles lanes, for instance. 

On the identical time, the federal government mentioned it plans to fast-track trials of e-scooters, that are technically nonetheless unlawful within the U.Okay. Trials are to be introduced ahead from subsequent yr to subsequent month and they will be nationwide as an alternative of in simply 4 elements of the U.Okay.

The transfer can be music to the ears of U.S. e-scooter rental start-ups Lime and Hen, in addition to European rivals Tier, Bolt, Voi and Wind. 

Travis VanderZanden, CEO of Hen, mentioned in an announcement: “With public transport capability constrained because of the pandemic e-scooters will present individuals with a sustainable and socially accountable transportation choice. Congestion and air high quality has improved dramatically in cities and cities all through the U.Okay. in latest weeks, and we’re happy to see the Authorities is dedicated to conserving it this manner as a part of their inexperienced transport revolution.” 

Birds parked in a “nest” alongside a avenue in Los Angeles

Smith Assortment/Gado | Archive Images | Getty Pictures

All that is additionally excellent news for corporations who promote e-bikes and e-scooters.

Certainly, enterprise is booming for e-bike entrepreneur Taco Carlier, who simply so occurs to be primarily based on the earth biking capital, Amsterdam. VanMoof, the Dutch start-up that he based in 2009 along with his brother Ties (who now lives in Taiwan), has seen a surge in demand for its e-bikes with the arrival of Covid-19.

“Two months in the past, every part modified because of the virus and every part began rising even quicker,” mentioned Carlier on a name with CNBC, including that international gross sales are up round 48% in comparison with the identical interval final yr, and U.Okay. gross sales are up 184%.

The corporate, which employs 250 individuals, has bought round 120,000 of its fashionable e-bikes, that are made in both The Netherlands or Taiwan. The 2 newest fashions (the S3 and the X3) price 1,998 euros ($2,170) however the unprecedented demand means they are not delivery till the tip of July because it stands. VanMoof is way from the one bike retailer struggling to keep up with demand

In 2019, VanMoof’s revenues got here in at practically $40 million. That determine is predicted to double to $80 million in 2020, Carlier mentioned. The fast-growing revenues have attracted the deep pockets of enterprise capital buyers at Balderton Capital in London, which led a 12.5 million euro funding spherical into the corporate Wednesday as they appear to capitalize on VanMoof’s success. Carlier described Balderton as the right associate to assist VanMoof to globalize and scale. 

“The mission is to get as many bikes in San Francisco, New York, Paris, London and Tokyo, as we have now in Amsterdam,” mentioned Carlier.

VanMoof’s bikes — bought in VanMoof shops in Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Taipei and Tokyo — are outfitted with anti-theft expertise.

A motorcycle’s location might be tracked on the corporate’s smartphone app and if a motorbike does go lacking, the corporate’s “bike hunters” will go and retrieve it for them. Different e-bike choices embrace the fold-up GoCycle, which was based by McLaren automotive engineer Richard Thorpe, and Specialised Turbo Levo Comp, which is the bike producer’s first pedal-assisted mountain bike. 

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