The capital of the Costa del Sol has a new, sustainable transport option. This month, 170 bright blue bikes have been scattered through Malaga city. They belong to Dropbyke, a company founded in Lithuania that set its sights on Malaga after opening in several other European cities.
Its bike hiring service, which is as much for tourists as it is for locals, works through a mobile application and offers different prices depending on how much time you want the bike for.
“We have started up this month after making a huge investment and acquiring the bikes. We have a good feeling about this,” said one of the founders of the company, Mika Asikainen. The Finnish entrepreneur has now moved to Malaga to manage the project in person.
Users find available bikes through the app. Once they have chosen the nearest one they can reserve it up to 15 minutes before, and once with the bike they only have to press the 'Start rental' button and the app sends a code which unlocks the bike.
When the user has arrived at their destination and finished with the bike, they can lock it up at a bike rack and press the 'Stop rental' button.
Per hour, the rental costs three euros, and rental for a whole day (24 hours) is capped at 10 euros. If the bike is not left close to where it is found, there is an extra charge of three euros per every kilometre it is away from the original pick-up point.
Dropbyke also offers a monthly membership of 30 euros, which gives unlimited 30 minute journeys to members. Time after this is paid according to normal fees. In this package, there is no additional charge for leaving the bike in a different place than the starting point.
The Dropbyke bicycles are suitable for urban settings, with comfort and resistance being of fundamental importance. Every bike is geotagged to prevent being stolen.
Mika Asikainen explains that Malaga was chosen as the second Spanish city, (Barcelona being the first), for several reasons. “Here it is perfect cycling conditions 360 days a year. The city is mostly flat and it is a great size to go from place to place by bike, and it is also bike-friendly thanks to the policies of the city council to promote sustainable city transport,” explains a Dropbyke team member, who admits that the high number of tourists in the city is another attraction.
The company is already established in touristic cities like Amsterdam, Bruges and Barcelona of course.
Existing city bikes
The co-founder of this sustainable transport app stresses that Dropbyke has been set up “with approval from city hall”, given that some of the bike racks being used are city property. Asikainen doesn't think that his company will lead to rivalry with the local government's borrowing and renting bike schemes. “We're a completely different, extra service”, he declares.
To set up the company in the city, Dropbyke has chosen to collaborate with startup booster Bolt.
From Malaga, Asikainen is already working on further growth in the short term and into other Andalusian cities like Seville, Cordoba, and along the Costa del Sol into Marbella, and Fuengirola.