10,000 Donkey Republic bikes to be recycled in new “Free bike” program created by Lyon Metropole

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 A historical deal has been made between Donkey Republic and the Metropole of Lyon. They will purchase 10.000 refurbished Donkey Republic bikes for their new project “Free Vélo’v,” these bikes will be lent for free to young students and young people in integration in Lyon.

International bike-share company, Donkey Republic (based in Denmark) has been chosen as a partner to provide Lyon with a total of 10,000 retired bikes from the Donkey bike fleet over the course of the next 5 years. In an attempt to develop alternative forms of mobility to private cars that are taking up public space and polluting the city, the metropolis of Lyon has initiated a new free service called “Free Vélo’v.” It will provide a free bike, for a period of up to two years, to young students or young people in integration to equip them with a sustainable means of transportation. 

First time for a project of this size in Europe
t's the first time in Europe that such a big-scale operation for refurbished bikes from a bike-sharing company is launched and it’s done through local partnerships in the city of Lyon.

Developing a practice of cycling for all: Democratizing access to sustainable transportation 

“At Donkey Republic, we are committed to democratizing access to sustainable transportation. That is why Donkey Republic is proud to be a partner on this project. Our bikes’ active lifetime will increase from 5 years under Donkey operation to a total of estimated 10 years. We will get more young people to join the republic of cyclists and continue our journey to transform cities and lives. We believe in and fully support the measures that the Metropole of Lyon are taking in this regard as they are creating a greener and more sustainable city” 

- Erdem Ovacik, CEO & CO-founder of Donkey Republic

Donkey Republic as a bike sharing company confronts the use and throw away-culture because people can borrow bikes rather than buy new ones, throw them away or avoid repairing them when they break down. With a partnership like this, Donkey Republic is taking it to a new level by ensuring their vehicles have the longest possible lifespan. 

“Sustainability is a key value in Donkey Republic, therefore it has always been a priority for us to think re-cycling and circular economy into our business model. We currently have a fleet of 14.000 bikes spread across Europe and with this collaboration we ensure that our Donkeys have a place to retire giving them a second life meaning they continue to have a green and healthy impact instead of turning into trash.”

- Alexander Frederiksen, CSO & Co-founder of Donkey Republic

Read about Donkey Republic Sustainability focus here

The main objectives of “Free Vélo'v” are to:

  • Help struggling young people to equip themselves and get around by bike for easy access to their universities, jobs and other opportunities offered to them by the city. 
  • To change the transportation mentality of young adults and get them used to getting around by bike. 
  • Recycling bikes intended for disposal. 
  • Create jobs, by having the local workforce managing the service and refurbishing the bikes, which also limits the carbon footprint of Free Vélo'v.

The refurbishment of the bikes will be part of a reintegration program. Here different people seeking to get back into the job market or just reintegrate into society can learn different work and social skills to help them in their future.  The aim is to help support and supervise their (re)integration into society. 


  • The metropolis of Lyon will lend 10,000 refurbished Donkey Republic bikes to scholarship students and young people in professional integration aged 18-25.
  • The project is called Free Vélo’v
  • A Free Vélo'v is a reconditioned bicycle, that is to say a second-hand bicycle, repaired and put back in perfect working order, and offered for free for a certain period of time 
  • The bikes will be delivered to the city in the course of next 4 years contract ensuring a meaningful use of the entire amount of bikes to retire from the Donkey fleet
  • Velogik, a major French company, will organize the location for young people and the repairs
  • The refurbishing will be organized by the Lyon company Second cycle and done by several local social workshops.
  • Loans start on November 8 2021, but you can now reserve your bike on the Free Vélo'v site 
  • Throughout the loan period, the Métropole de Lyon remains the owner of the bicycle. The person who uses the bicycle keeps it at home and takes care of its maintenance.  





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DonkeyRepublic Holding A/S
Katrine Arevad, Public & Investor Relations Manager

Christians IX’s Gade 7
DK-1111 Copenhagen K
+45 5353 4331
Mail: investor@donkeyrepublic.com 
Investor website: www.invest.donkey.bike  

Donkey Republic is a leading provider of end-to-end bike-sharing solutions. The Company is expanding across Europe and as of Q3 2021 it operates +13K bikes in 15 cities as Mobility-as-a-Service (“MaaS”) provider as well as licenses its platform as Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) to partners operating +3,100 bikes across +60 cities. Based on its proprietary software at the core, Donkey Republic offers cities and local partners a fully integrated turn-key solution, including software critical to all stakeholders, bikes, operations, and support services. Donkey Republic taps into megatrends such as sustainability, sharing economy, and urbanisation, and has a vision of making city life better for everyone with affordable and responsible bike-sharing.