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Londoners Flock to Rent Bikes With a Bright Blue Tire and Antitheft Guarantee

  • Thousands of Londoners rent Dutch-style bikes with blue wheel
  • Swapfiets aims to replace cars with £17 to £109 rental options
A customer rides a Dutch-style Swapfiets bikes on Oct. 4 in London.

A customer rides a Dutch-style Swapfiets bikes on Oct. 4 in London.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

A new group has joined London’s busy bike messengers, style-conscious Rapha riders and Lycra-clad urban cyclists as they cruise through town. Thousands in the British capital are renting Dutch-style bikes from Swapfiets, a company started in the Netherlands in 2014. It signed up 3,000 UK customers to its service over just four months this summer.

Each bike has a relaxed, upright riding style with a hands-free coaster brake. For a flat fee starting at £17 per month ($19), customers can choose among four models, including e-bikes, designed to suit needs ranging from casual weekend bicyclists to dedicated delivery riders who rack up thousands of miles each month. Lights and locks are included in the price, along with a guarantee that the company will fix or repair any problems, such as a flat tire, within 48 hours.