Requirements for shared bikes

Make yourself a list of points your ideal bike should satisfy.

Think about estimated bike vandalism in your area and if stuff like brake and shifter cables shouldn’t be exposed so that people could damage them. Think about the positions of trackers and locks, where you want to mount them and if there is enough space for them. If the bicycle saddle height is changeable by the rider, check if it can be secured to the bike - so it can’t be removed completely and the bike is suddently missing its saddle.

We know that finding bikes built specifically for sharing is hard - but don’t see this as a mandatory requirement for your first OpenBike setup. Tests with a small fleet of used bikes, rescued from your local cities lost bike storage, are totally fine!


Write down your bike identification numbers - vehicle ident number, EIN, or something like this - that are etched into the bicycle frame. This helps you identify a bike, even if all branding customizations are gone - or if someone stole a bike. Cykel provides you a field for this.


Try to make sure that people recognize the bikes as sharing bike right away. Your bike can be labelled with signs or stickers, to make it more visible. Note that the stickers should be outdoor compatible - labels from a cheap thermal printer only work for a few days and are then destroyed by sun and rain.

In our deployment in Ulm, we’ve begun with simple labels - and learned that thermal labels are not very convenient the hard way. After that, we experimented with cardboard and laminated paper on the sides of the rear wheel. This worked nice, so we upgraded to lasercut pvc sheets and placed individualized stickers with the bike number and qr code on it.