How it Works

The FlexBike system is a complete and effective unattended bicycle rental system. It consists of bicycles, automated bicycle racks and a server based software application for the management and administration of the system.

The system has been designed with a view to providing all the functionality required for a successful City-Bike project, while remaining extremely cost-effective.

For the user, renting a bicycle with FlexBike is quick, easy and completely automatic. The user is identified using an electronic RFID card in conjunction with a PIN code. FlexBike is a true point to point system, the user can collect a bicycle from point A and return it at Point B.

FlexBike racks are easy to install, the installation does not require any specific technical expertise.

With no cables to worry about, the installation of FlexBike racks equipped with the battery and solar power option is just as easy as the installation of an ordinary bicycle rack. Each FlexBike racks communicates with the server using a wireless GSM/GPRS connection which also avoids the need for additional installation cables.

Renting a bicycle

  • Hold the RFID card in front of the card reader zone on the terminal
  • Enter the PIN code and press "OK"
  • Enter the number of the lock unit holding the bicycle chosen for rental
  • Wait a few seconds while the terminal connects to the server via GSM/GPRS to validate the rental
  • Note the bicycle lock combination number which is shown on the LCD screen
  • Once the lock unit is activated (indicated by a beep), press the unlock button on the lock unit
  • Remove the bicycle from the lock

Validating the rental

Before unlocking the bicycle, the rental-terminal connects to the server with the system's server which runs a number of verifications: mainly:

  • The validity of the card
  • The validity of the PIN code
  • Checks that user has authorisation to use the bicycle rental service
  • Checks that the user has sufficient pre-paid credit for a new rental
  • Checks the user has not been blocked (black list)
  • Checks the user has not reached the maximum number of simultaneous bicycle rentals allowed
  • Checks that the bicycle is available for rental or if it is blocked (for repairs, for example)
  • The numeric signature of the bicycle rack

If any of these checks fails, the bicycle will not be released

Returning the bicycle

The user must chose a rack with an empty lock unit in order to return the bicycle after a rental.

  • Press the unlock button beside the attachment point ( the lock will open)
  • Insert the bicycle

At the end of this process, the rental is terminated with a connection to the server.

Displaying Account information

Users can consult their account information at any time via the screen of any FlexBike rack in the system. Currently, the account information available this way is:

  • The duration and cost of the user's last rental transaction
  • The user's remaining credit balance