What is it?
Donkeys? Republic? Bikes?? We don't think we could explain why this great bike-sharing app is named as such better than the developers themselves on their very informative website, so here's what they say:
"Once, a donkey would be the most accessible, dependable and commonplace means of transportation. Nowadays, when our cities are suffocated by boxes of metal, the humble bicycle is taking the role of its hoofed ancestor as a convenient and pragmatic device of urban mobility. So there you have it – we’re the Donkey Republic because we believe that the future of mobility depends on one of the simplest, most plain and unpretentious vehicles ever invented."
So there you have it. The idea was born in Copenhagen in 2012 and is aimed mostly at tourists, offering them a simple and cheap way to see a city with fewer restrictions than most bike sharing initiatives. It's seen impressive growth mostly across mainland Europe with 86,000 registered users and over 4,000 bikes available to ride. You book a bike via their app and unlock the bike's smart lock with your phone, much like many other bike sharing schemes; but where Donkey Republic differs is their use of 'partners' who actually act as an agent to rent out Donkey bikes, and are responsible for making sure they have been returned to the correct location and that they've not been lost or damaged. To become a partner you need to invest in a Donkey Kit that sets you up with a set of bluetooth locks for a fleet of bikes you will operate.
Rental prices differ depending on location, but the average price for a whole day is 12 euros and it's cheap for a short trip. Donkey Bikes don't have docking stations, instead you return them to a drop-off location (you can pay extra to dock it outside of the vicinity) and then sign the bike off on the app when you're done with it. You can use them for up to 14 days, and the minimum rental time is half an hour.
How can it help me?
You can rent bikes from many of the big European cities such as London, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Berlin and Amsterdam, plus less obvious but no doubt useful locations such as Tetbury, Cirencester and the Cotswold Water Park. Wherever you are and you're in need of a ride, try it - the list of locations is growing fast so it might come in handy the next time you visit somewhere new.
What makes it unique?
For a start, It's called Donkey Republic! The partner system makes it unique in the bike-sharing world too, and the fact that you can rent the bike for up to two weeks is far longer than most. There are no docking stations and you can't dump it wherever you want, instead Donkey Republic operates an in-between system whereby you leave your bike in a drop-off location.
Where can I get it?
Donkey Republic is free to download on Android or iOS, and from here you can create an account. You can upgrade to take advantage of offers, such as discounted prices of Donkey Bike rentals in any location - visit the Donkey Republic website for more info.
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.