On Yer Hired Bike | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

On Yer Hired Bike

Comment Writer Sam Yearley claims that UoB do not need Santander bikes on campus

If you have been on campus over the last week you will have undoubtedly seen the #bikesforbrum campaign currently trying to get Boris Bi- sorry, Santander Cycles onto campus. The opportunity to cycle from The Vale to Edgbaston Campus, or from University Station back to Tennis Courts is undoubtedly a good idea, however, the flaws with this are plentiful.

I have my doubts about whether the campaign is up to it

Firstly, the scheme will be providing a total of 50 bikes to the University, split over eight locations. That allows for six or seven bikes to be at each station on average. Luckily, only about seven students walk from the Vale every morning, right? And if you’re getting off the train at University Station and want to take a bike back to wherever you’re going, you better hope you’re one of the first six people leaving the station or the £30 membership you have paid will be going to waste.

But don’t worry, we have got to raise a few thousand pounds before the payoff.

A total of £47,000 must be raised to get the bikes and I have my doubts about whether the campaign is up to it. At the time of writing this article, the pledges stand at £15,764, impressive considering the campaign only started on the 6th November.

Unfortunately, £15,000 of these pledges come from TOA taxis, and I worry that this will be a one-off donation from a company with a close affiliation to the University. The reason no other company will be interested is that there is an offer for a ‘Corporate Brand Awareness Package’ which costs £5,000 and promises very vague promotions to students and faculty, as well as being ‘credited once across all our main social media channels.’

It is an attempt to appeal to the one group of people who have absolutely no interest in the Santander Cycles

Believe me, if the University of Birmingham could make £5,000 from one-off promotions on their social media, that would already be happening. No company is going to shed out £5,000 for a brand awareness campaign that is worse than what they could buy for themselves with the said £5,000.

Speaking of which, let’s discuss the money that #bikesforbrum has wasted on their campaign. Walking around campus I have seen an assault on bike seats, with every bike being adorned with a seat cover promoting the #bikesforbrum campaign. Quite a unique way of promoting the cause, which ultimately is completely pointless because, and I cannot stress this too much: these people already have bikes on campus!

It is an attempt to appeal to the one group of people who have absolutely no interest in the Santander Cycles because they already have a more convenient, already-paid-for bike that they are able to cycle home with. They are also the only people that will be seeing these seat covers since it’s not common practice in Britain to go and closely investigate the locked-up bikes of strangers.

On top of the costs for these custom seat covers, there are also the T-shirts for campaigners, leaflets, banners and signs that have been paid for. I have to question how much all of this cost, and if it would have been better spent being pledged to the final amount, with #bikesforbrum running a much cheaper, social media focused campaign.

After all: they’ve valued access to UoB social media at £5,000 a pop, how could that be less efficient than adding to the already copious amounts of leaflets handed out to people on campus?

As a third year graduating this year I will certainly not be pledging anything (as tempting as the £30 cream tea on offer is), and I imagine I am not the only one feeling this way.

So even though the #bikesforbrum campaign is a more palatable waste of money than last year’s library banner, I would still like if UoB got its spending priorities in order.



13th November 2017 at 10:05 am

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