By Max Clarke
Londoners have embraced them for their convenience, value for money and green credentials; now the Mayor’s flagship cycle scheme is in line to become a global style icon.
Barclays Cycle Hire has been shortlisted for the prestigious Brit Insurance Design Awards that showcase a year of design across the world. The fourth annual awards have pulled together a shortlist of inspiring and important designs from the last year. As well as the bikes the international shortlist includes Angry Birds (the hit mobile phone game) the Apple iPad, an open air library in Magdeburg, Germany and a Balancing Barn, a holiday home in Suffolk which appears to defy gravity. Last year's winner was the Folding Plug by Min-Kyu Choi that revolutionised a humble, but essential, piece of everyday equipment.
The awards are split into seven categories; transport, architecture, fashion, furniture, graphics, interactive and product. The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme was put forward for the transport category by eminent designers Wayne Hemingway and Sebastian Conran.
Wayne Hemingway said: "I use it two or three times a week. It is affordable, simple to use, the bikes are solid, the strap and the ‘basket’ holds my brief case safely. It's a triumph and welcome addition to this great city.”
Sebastian Conran added: "What I like about it is a lot of people are using it, and lots of Londoners have been using it, not only tourists. It is not just the design of the bikes but the design of the entire system which seems excellent.”
With more than 2.6m journeys having taken place on the bikes since the launch and more than 110,000 members signed up, Barclays Cycle Hire is proving a real success across London.
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor’s transport advisor, said: “The Mayor is incredibly proud of his new, blue bikes and the way they have been embraced by Londoners and visitors and is delighted to have been nominated for this award. His ambition is to deliver a cycling revolution in London, and Barclays cycle hire has set us well on the way to achieving that aim. The scheme is enabling thousands of people to use the cleanest, greenest, newest form of public transport and, at the same time, reducing congestion, improving air quality and making us fitter. Now to top it all off we can say we are doing it in style.”
The winners of each category will be announced on February 28 with the overall winner announced on March 15. All the nominations are showcased at the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, from February 16 to August 7.