The Mayor of Bristol had led by example by completing a two-week challenge laid down for him by electric bike brand Volt to travel to all his mayoral engagements by e-bike for two weeks solid. Mr Rees cycled to work every day and made all other journeys by e-bike except for one over the two weeks, and has reiterated the need for residents to choose sustainable transport options.
While Bristol has a strong reputation for cycling - having being named the UK's first cycling city in 2008 and having a greater percentage of cycle commuters than anywhere else in the country - the city's air quality is still at illegally high levels and has some of the worst congestion and transport issues in Britain. To try to address these challenges and reduce air pollution, the city has made a commitment to increase active journeys to work (including cycling) by 15% by 2033, and according to Mayor Rees that starts at the top:
“Encouraging people to try active and sustainable travel options is key to our ambition to improve people flow across Bristol", he said. "Giving residents realistic alternatives for moving around the city and connecting them to people, jobs and opportunity is essential as we continue to grow and make Bristol a more inclusive place. Cycling is also an accessible way for people to fit in physical activity.
"I hope that by taking part in this challenge I have inspired others to discover the benefits of active travel for themselves.”
The challenge was set up by Volt bikes, whose aim was to present e-bikes as a viable alternative to driving and inspire Bristol residents to embrace a more active lifestyle. Volt's co-founder Lyle Metcalfe says: “Research shows that nearly three quarters of the UK population still never cycle. Our aim is to change the way people view cycling, by making it as accessible and inclusive as possible. That’s why we are engaging with mayors across the country to lead by example, by getting on an e-bike themselves and showcasing the enjoyment and feasibility of active travel.”