Road Cycling

Could London’s Boris Bikes Be Transformed Into Boris Beasts?

This has to be the best crowd-funding campaign ever!

This has to be one of the best crowd-funding projects we’ve ever seen. Tell Tails, a group of toymakers from Hackney who sell wearable tails, are hoping to transform London’s Barclay’s Bank-sponsored “Boris Bikes” into animal-like creatures – complete with spots, stripes or scales.

Tell Tails mock-up of how the bikes might look. How crazy would this be?

The idea is to do away with the blue Barclays branding on the bikes and replace it with a variety of animal prints, and (here’s the best bit) “massive realistic billowing tails.”

The proposal, written by Mike O’Shea, one of the company’s founders, continues: “No longer will Londoners arrive to work on a two wheeled turd or a  navy blue nightmare.”

“You can now ride to work on a Steed! a Stallion! You sir, can arrive to work on your very own BATTLE CAT!”

“You can now ride to work on a Steed! a Stallion! You sir, can arrive to work on your very own BATTLE CAT!”

The idea might sound a bit far-fetched but with the sponsorship deal for the bikes up for renewal in 2015, and Transport for London currently looking to attract new investment, the opportunity is there.

The only problem is the amount of money they’d need to raise. Barclays were supposed to pay £50 million for the sponsorship and although they apparently delivered less than half of it, Tell Tails reckon they’d need to get hold of £37.5 million to make their vision of a “Serengeti of style” a reality.

Hoping to raise that kind of sum on a crowd-funding site is obviously pretty outrageous and the amusing list of the “rewards” that they’ll grant to pledgers suggests they’re not necessarily expecting the money to materialise.

The “reward” for a pledge of £10 million is amusing. Although I’m sure if someone was generous enough to pledge 10k the Tell Tails founder would follow through with this…

But behind this slightly crazy idea there is a serious point. As Mike O’Shea explains: “The current Boris Bikes are not only bland and boring, but that they bear the name of a large banking firm that most Londoner’s would rather throw eggs at then ride with pride.”

“We believe in a London bike sponsored by the people, for the people. A bike that represents the natural irreverence, exuberance and rebellious nature of the British people.”

No doubt the campaign will help raise Tell Tails’ profile, but it also serves to draw attention to serious issues around the omnipresence of advertising and the selling off of public space.

And while it’ll probably never happen, we’d love to believe it could – a fleet of animal-themed bikes rolling round the streets of London would certainly make cycling in the city a lot more colourful!

If you want to get involved and donate, check out the Boris Beasts crowd-funding page!

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It’s Boris Biking, But Not Like You’ve Ever Seen it Before

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