Brisbane couple Susanne Bransgrove and Greg Griffith are preparing to release the world’s first fully biodegradable bicycle cleaning wipes, with their Kickstarter campaign launched last week.
The pair is working with an Adelaide manufacturer to begin initial production of their Bikey Wipes chain degreasers, and is in the process of finding a distributor to start forging a network of retailers.
Susanne and Greg have spent many years helping other businesses get started and flourish. Greg currently serves as CEO of the National Retail Association, after previous CEO positions with Family Business Australia and the Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative.
Similarly, Susanne began her corporate career in banking and finance. When the global financial crisis decimated the industry in 2008, she started running her own businesses, including as an accredited advisor with Family Business Australia, and has served as ‘expert in residence’ at the University of New England supporting female business founders.
So when their cycle tour following the 2022 Tour de France revealed an absence quality, biodegradable bike cleaning wipes, it made sense for Susanne and Greg to start their own venture.
Greg stumbled onto cycling five years ago when a skiing accident left him unable to run for six months and he got on a stationary bike to maintain fitness. While he was an instant converted, Susanne had been riding for two decades, including as an amateur road competitor in her native Germany.
“The idea for Bikey Wipes was really born when we followed last year’s Tour de France and didn’t have access to water, so we were using baby wipes to clean our bikes,” Susanne said.
“When we tried to buy more, we were using inferior product that would rip or didn’t work overly well, and left fragments all over the cassette and chain.
“The alternatives at the moment are spray degreasers that can actually strip lubricant from the bottom bracket or bearings, or baby wipes that are largely plastic based.
“Neither are particularly great – from an environmental perspective or in terms of usability. We thought there had to be a better product.”
The duo has undertaken 12 months of product development and last week began working with scientists from the University of New England to further test the biodegradable properties of the Bikey Wipes and the materials they collect during bike cleaning.
Initial testing has shown the degreaser wipes, made with natural fibres, take just under six months to fully break down.
The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to continue until 11th October and Bikey Wipes plans to continue selling online, direct to consumers, as well as through retail partners.
Greg and Susanne have ambitions to sell in Europe and North America, as well as throughout Australia.
Production of the chain degreaser wipes began last week and Bikey Wipes expects to start producing frame and rotor wipes in the coming months.
“There’s going to be continuous additions to the range. We already have another wipe product in mind, as well as doing some apparel and other products,” Susanne said.
“Apart from extending the product range, we are also committed to investing in improving the products, particularly from a packaging perspective. Packaging is still a difficult problem to solve worldwide, to provide environmental and compostable options.
“At the moment, there still needs to be some soft plastic component to contain moisture in the wipes.
“Our tag line – good for your bike, good for your planet – is not going to stop with the products we have. We’ll continue looking for better options.