Business in focus: Human Forest

February 11, 2024

Forest, formerly known as HumanForest, emerges as a distinctive dockless bicycle hire service in London, offering a unique approach to sustainable and accessible urban mobility. The service charges riders a nominal fee of £1 to conclude their rides, with an innovative reward system granting 2 additional minutes for parking in designated borough areas.

Boasting over 800 bicycles on London streets as of September 2021, Forest positions itself among the primary e-bike operators in the city, competing with established services like Santander Cycles and Lime/Jump (owned by Uber). Notably, Forest fills the void left by Chinese companies Mobike and Ofo after their insolvencies and subsequent removal.

Initially launched in 2020, Forest faced a temporary shutdown due to an injury caused by a faulty e-bike. However, the company promptly addressed the issue by recalling all bikes, replacing them, and resuming operations in 2021.

Distinguishing itself from competitors, Forest prioritizes green ideals, providing users with 10 minutes of daily free service. Despite this, a nominal “parking fee” of £1 per ride remains applicable. Supported by partners like Nutmeg and Whole Foods, Forest’s ad-supported model contributes to its mission of offering sustainable mobility to all London citizens.

The e-bikes, characterized by their dockless, zero-emission nature, are powered by renewable energy. After exhausting the daily 20 free minutes, users incur a cost of £0.12p per minute, without an unlocking fee. With a maximum speed of 15mph, GPS tracking, and exclusive locking/unlocking via the HumanForest app, these e-bikes provide a convenient and eco-friendly means of transportation.

Forest’s commitment extends beyond mere transportation, aiming to foster a sense of community and shared responsibility. By partnering with corporate entities and emphasizing inclusive mobility, Forest seeks to signal users’ commitment to reducing carbon footprints and improving the city’s air quality.

As Londoners increasingly adopt conscious choices in transport, Forest envisions a greener, healthier future for the city. The company’s Co-Founder, Caroline Seton, expresses a dedication to providing free and sustainable mobility for everyone, aligning with the ongoing transformation towards a more eco-friendly society.