Fuck Barclays Cycle Hire – A Message to the Sponsor

Imagine my delight this morning and saw that the Barclays Cycles had been ‘artistically enhanced’ overnight. This photo was taken at 08.25 outside my workplace in an arty area of London. You can see I had the whole intact flush – on every single cycle, both sides of the logo had been doctored. The colourmatching was pretty good, as was the font choice.

Fuck Barclays Cycle Hire

Fuck Barclays Cycle Hire - spoof logos

The first question in the office was ‘How many cycle bays across London had been affected?’ The second was ‘Who were the heroes behind this?’ The third was ‘Is that glue on your hands, Mark?’

Alas, I was clueless and glueless – but I doff my hat to the protestors for their ingenuity. Doubtless they did this in response to news of the recent promotion of Bob Diamond to President and Group Chief Executive. Poor chap’s given up an unlimited bonus for a salary of  a mere £1.35m per year and a bonus of up to £3.375m. But that’s forgetting the reported long-term share incentives worth £6.75m over the next year. It’s a hard life. Perhaps he’ll have to economise – may I suggest he cycles to work in future?

***STOP PRESS*** Police are looking for a man in his sixties answering to the nickname ‘Red Ken’.


6 Responses to Fuck Barclays Cycle Hire – A Message to the Sponsor

  1. Ang says:

    Shortly after Barclays’ heavily branded bikes-for-rent appeared on London streets on 30th July, anonymous guerrilla teams targeted the ‘shameless advertising’ vehicles over night to raise awareness of the bank’s role in the arms trade and other dodgy investments. Up to 4,000 stickers, in the same shade of blue and same font that Barclays uses, were placed on bikes all over the city, carrying such messages as “Barclays does not give a shit about you” and “£20m investment in bikes, £7300m investment in bombs”.

    Welcome to Barclays’ London

    The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme is operated on behalf of Transport for London (TfL) by outsourcing giant Serco, in conjunction with BIXI, under a six-year private finance initiative (PFI) contract worth £140 million. Based on similar schemes in other European cities, such as Barcelona and Paris, the London scheme was sponsored by Barclays, with £25m spent on branding rights, in return for covering the bikes with the bank’s logo, as well as painting newly launched cycle lanes, called ‘cycle superhighways’, with Barclays trademark cyan. No other bike hire scheme in the world has been fully sponsored by one company.

    Among the messages left on Barclays bikes, one sticker read “Funding depleted uranium birth defects in Iraq,” in reference to the bank’s funding of companies producing depleted uranium weapons, which were used in Iraq and Afghanistan (see here). Another sticker declared that Barclays “invests £7.3 billion in the arms trade.” The bank is, indeed, the largest investor in the global arms trade, holding a whopping £7.3 billion worth of investments in the industry. For example, it has provided funding to companies producing cluster bombs (see here) and provides services for companies, such as ITT, who produce weapons used by the Israeli army against Palestinian civilians (see here).

    Heavy, ugly and expensive

    On the day of launching, more than 12,450 bike keys had already been handed out to subscribers, but only 6,000 had been activated. According to media reports, councils around London had also refused to grant permission for at least 76 docking stations, meaning TfL has only been able to put 5,000 of the 6,000 hire bikes on the street at 315 docking points across the city. Many local residents had apparently protested against the scheme, some arguing that it would be a “violation of their human rights” if a docking station were to be built outside their doors.

    Weighing 23kg, the Barclays bikes have been criticised by many as “too heavy” and “too slow.” Whilst provided with the latest tracking and anti-vandalism technology, they do not come with a basket or a lock, which TfL claims is to deter people from keeping the bikes for long periods. The bikes are also too expensive, costing between £1 for an hour and £50 for 24 hours (see full list of prices here). With a target of 6,000 bikes and 400 docking stations by the end of the year, the scheme is expected to cost £140 million over 6 years, that is, profits for Serco and Barclays.

    The Tory mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has recently proposed to spend a further £81.7 million on 200 more ‘Boris bikes’ for commuters arriving at mainline rail stations. The mayor also wants to expand the scheme in East London for the 2012 Olympic games, although cycling is banned inside the Olympic Park.

    A statement posted by the anonymous activists who subvertised the Barclays bikes read:

    “When you cycle the Barclays hire bikes, you are constantly advertising this corporation. Do not accept it!

    “Barclays will always put profit before people as long as its shareholders demand bigger and bigger profits each year. This is the inevitable result of unhindered free market capitalism. It is up to each one of us to raise our voice and use our skills to create alternative communities and societies that subvert, destroy and render useless a world where war is an economic necessity. Inaction is complicity. See you on the streets.”

    Link: http://barclaysbikesandbombs.blogspot.com

  2. Sacha says:

    Utterly Hilarious !!

  3. Flounder says:

    Ha! Brits DO have a sense of humor!

  4. where do I get the stickers from? I want to play to

  5. Karen Smyth says:

    Yes, if we can get some stickers over the border then I’ll do Glasgow. Whoops… we don’t have Barclays Banks or Bikes, (you know the weedgies exercise is a bad word) but I’ll be happy to start on RBS!!

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