Oxford Limited, the university‘s company for managing and developing retail and brand licensing programs, has joined in a five year global deal with the bicycle producer Rule Bikes and is set to release a range of official Oxford University bicycles that will go on sale in specialist stores and online this summer.
Chris Evans, Managing Director of Oxford Limited, commented: “Many of our students choose the bicycle as their preferred method of transport in and around Oxford which makes the signing of this license all the more relevant to the Oxford brand”.
Evans added that the retro design of the bike and the high quality of the material correspond to the company’s core values of heritage and excellence.
The co-operating partner, Rule Bikes, which was established in 2011, has already gained a considerable deal of experience in merchandising brands such as Angry Birds, Star Wars, Moshi Monsters and Sony.
The company was also a pioneer on the catwalk, as the first bike brand to appear there in the history of London Fashion Week in 2011.
Rule Bikes Managing Director Martin Richards: “We are delighted to be in collaboration with Oxford University to bring to a global audience a range of bicycles and accessories that exude style and glamour whilst still delivering core quality values.”
The bikes have been added to a range of already-available Oxford merchandise including Oxford cityscape plates, dark blue Oxford clocks, Oxford stationery, Oxford branded travel bags, Oxford scented candles and, of course, Oxford clothing.
However it seems like Cambridge already has a century’s head start in this particular market. Since 1895, the Townsend family have produced the “Light Blue Bicycle,” as the unofficial bike of the Tabs.
Oxford student Oliver Siewek raised concerns about university merchandise: “I’m not sure what to think of it, one should be careful not to cross a tricky line.
“Once you’re a business you lose the independence a university should have. Publishing and selling sweatshirts is fine and I guess selling bikes is still okay as well, but mind the slippery slope!
“At the end of the day though, if the money isn’t coming from the government it has to come from somewhere.”
Sieweke went on to point out: “What students in Oxford really need are affordable and reliable bikes. And whilst they are on it, it would be great if they could also set up a repair centre where you don’t get ripped off”.
It is yet to be seen if the Oxford branded bikes will prove popular with students or tourists.