AN OXFORD cycling company is seeking to beat the bike thieves as it launches its world-first design with an 'Oxford identity’.

Urbancyclo has developed the Quicktwist handlebar stem, which allows owners to store their cycles indoors by making the bike narrower through a ‘click and twist’ handlebar mechanism.

Their aim is to help arrest a sharp rise in bike thefts, many of which occur outside people’s homes overnight.

Quicktwist is the brainchild of Urbancyclo's founder and director Andy Bullock, who has lived in Jericho since 2013 and has had several locked bikes stolen from outside his front door.

More than 20,000 journeys are made by bike in Oxford every day and Mr Bullock is calling on the city's huge cycling population to support the idea.

He said: “There’s not a significant cycling brand that people associate with the city, so it's inspired by Oxford and we’re hoping to generate as much interest as possible locally.

"We really want the people of Oxford to get behind it and own it."

The Quicktwist design enables the handlebars to be rotated 90 degrees up or down, reducing the bike's total width by up to 70 per cent.

Next month Urbancyclo is starting a 45-day crowdfunding campaign through the website Kickstarter for the first batch of Quicktwist stems.

The company needs £70,000, but with promotional deals for those who donate, Mr Bullock is confident he can meet the target.

He said: “It’s had a fantastic reception.

"We are quite well known to all the bike shops, and basically everyone has asked us why it hasn’t been done before.

"After working in design for 30 years, I find myself launching a company with no competition."

Mr Bullock is an ex-Saatchi and Saatchi art director who mentors with the Entrepreneurship Centre at Oxford University's Said Business School.

After falling victim to several cycle thefts, he was forced to store his bike in his hallway overnight to keep it safe.

While struggling to manoeuvre the cycle indoors he had his 'eureka moment': if he could reduce the bike's width, life would be much easier.

Lacking the engineering expertise to put his idea into practice, he set up meetings with cycle manufacturers.

These proved fruitless, but a chance meeting with Adrian Ward, a design engineer who has worked for several Formula One teams including Williams and Benetton, gave the project lift-off.

Mr Bullock said: “I had taken it as far as I could go: everyone said it was an amazing idea but they were not prepared to finance the development of it.

“But when I met Adrian we thought that if we got together we could do this ourselves."

The duo soon enlisted the help of Ed Williamson, whose marketing and publishing experience saw him appointed managing director.

In their quest to ensure the Quicktwist remained as 'Oxford' as possible, they attempted to manufacture the product in the city, but Mr Bullock admitted huge costs resulted in the team moving production to Taiwan, driving the retail price down from £250 to £68.

Urbancyclo now stands just £70,000 from launching the Quicktwist, with the company aiming to have the first stems on the market by the end of this year.

Mr Bullock has grand plans for Urbancyclo, including branching into clothing and apparel.

His long-term aim is for the Quicktwist to change the way people use bikes in urban spaces, by increasing the numbers that can be stored at transport hubs and, of course, helping cut down thefts.

But despite these ambitions, he is still determined that the company keeps its 'Oxford' identity.

He said: “Keeping it local, taking it to the world – that’s our motto.”