A city bike scheme is up for a national business award - despite folding last week.

Nextbike has withdrawn its 170 hire bikes - on which the first 30 minutes of riding was free - after failing to cover costs from advertising.

The company is a finalist for the national award after winning a regional title from the Sustainable Business Network as a promising small emerging business.

Director Julian Hulls said it would be tough securing national honours at an awards dinner in Auckland tomorrow night while all his bikes were in storage.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has asked officials to meet Nextbike to discuss options for some future scheme.

He said last week that cycling had an important part to play in any city's transport system and the council would welcome any approach from Nextbike so it could examine the company's business model.

The new Auckland Transport agency, which will be responsible for compiling applications for Government subsidies for public transport, is also considering the issue.

Mr Hulls said the number of cities around the world with public bike schemes had grown from 17 to more than 200 since his company set up shop in Auckland in 2007.