E-bikes are being made available to use for free in Greater Manchester after the Department for Transport (DfT) provided Cycling UK with £8m in funding. The ‘cycling made e-asy’ scheme is also set to be rolled out in Leicester, Luton, Hull and Sheffield.
The funding, which covers this year and next, has been made available as part of the government’s Gear Change strategy, which aims for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030.
E-bikes are seen as a key means of achieving this goal as they open up cycling to a wider group of people.
Cycling minister Trudy Harrison commented: “E-cycles are a great way for people with longer or hillier journeys to travel and the £8m 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 Walking and Cycling 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.”
Cycling UK will be providing free e-bike loans for up to three months. The aim of the programme is to dispel common myths about e-bikes and also to build awareness of them as a viable mode of transport.
The bikes are being made available at hubs in each pilot location with branches of Evans Cycles, local community spaces, selected workplaces and education settings being used for the scheme.
“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 Cycling UK chief executive, Sarah Mitchell. “Each of our chosen locations will have a variety of e-cycles available to suit a variety of participants’ 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.”
Users can book bikes through the Cycling UK website or in person at one of the hubs.