The bike is free but there's a catch

Biking, brands, and a body by Cooper - all in scheme to ease traffic congestion in London.

If you run 5K races or attend charity events, you probably have a drawer full of "gimme" shirts - advertiser-laden jerseys tucked into event goodie bags, of a quality high enough to wear to the gym or in the garden.

But a logo tee's value to its sponsor (in exposure) and you (in non-exposure) is pretty miniscule, particularly when it sits in that drawer.

Imagine instead a gimme bicycle, a high-value item that provides a more eye-catching display for its sponsor and greater usefulness to the recipient.

To make that effective as an advertising platform, all you've got to do is solve that drawer problem.

A UK company called Buzzbike seems to have figured that out - and figured out how to cut down on pollution and congestion while they're at it.

Here's how it works: Buzzbike provides free use of a bicycle to London cyclists in exchange for the right to use said bike as a rolling advertising platform.

Programme applicants put down a £100 deposit - which is refundable upon the safe return of the bike at the end of a 1- or 2-year agreement.

The agreement includes a committment to ride the bike to work at least 12 days each month and park on the street (with allowances made for inclement weather - this is London, after all).

"Buzzbike really comes into its own with scale," says Tom Hares, a former Apple internal advertising head who cofounded the company with corporate strategist Andrew Nunn.

"[It has] the power of making an impact across a city with a substantial number of bikes." Buzzbikes are tethered to an app that tracks both usage and where they are parked.

Buzzbike starts, intelligently, with a bike that people would actually want to ride. It's a single-speed commuter designed by Cooper.

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