Cycling UK has today announced the launch of ‘Cycling made e-asy’, which sees up to £8 million of investment from Department for Transport from 2022 – 2023 to offer free e-cycle loans in pilot areas across England.
The initiative is being launched in five places across England, starting with Greater Manchester.
It aims to get 12,000 people e-cycling in 2022 alone and forms part of the ambitious Cycling and Walking Plan (Gear Change) to boost cycling and walking levels, with a vision for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030.
Supported by an expert consortium of industry partners, Cycling UK will be providing free loans, lasting up to three months, of electric cycles giving local communities the opportunity to get around by e-cycle including adapted e-cycle.
The programme aims to dispel common myths and build awareness of e-cycles.
E-cycles enable people of all ages to cycle with assistance, making hills and journeys easier.
E-cycles will be made available at hubs in each pilot location with branches of Evans Cycles, local community spaces, selected workplaces and education settings being used to roll out the scheme.
Cycling UK’s extensive experience of engaging with underrepresented groups means they recognise the barriers, challenges and perceptions that can deter people from trying cycling.
Through their tried and tested behavioural change models, Cycling UK has the ability to deliver projects and programmes that attract diverse groups and empower communities.
Cycling UK will use their existing local community network of over 400 community cycling organisations to rapidly engage with underrepresented groups and non-regular cyclists to deliver high quality, inclusive, activities.
Their behaviour change programmes engage with an average of 51% non-regular cyclists and 27% minority ethnic groups year on year.
“The e-cycles project is a unique opportunity for Cycling UK to offer free and easy loans of electric cycles to communities across England,” said Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK’s chief executive.
“Each of our chosen locations will have a variety of e-cycles available to suit a variety of participant’s needs.
“At Cycling UK, we understand that taking the first step to start cycling can be a difficult prospect for many people.
“This project will allow them to access an e-cycle without obstacles holding them back, to help them make real changes to their travel habits.”
Cycling minister Trudy Harrison said: “E-cycles are a great way for people with longer or hillier journeys to travel and the £8 million we have provided for this scheme will help make cycling the natural first choice for many journeys – a key Government commitment from the Prime Minister’s Cycling and Walking plan.
“I’m grateful to Cycling UK for delivering this scheme on our behalf, giving people across the UK the opportunity to try something new whilst doing good for the planet.”
The scheme is launching in Manchester as the first of the pilot locations before being rolled out in Leicester, Luton & Dunstable, Hull and Sheffield by the end of July.
Users will be able to enrol on the scheme via Cycling UK’s website from the 12th of May 2022 or through walk-ins at Evans Cycles and selected community hubs.