Seeking to change its "city of the car" moniker, Birmingham has begun handing out 5,000 bright orange bicycles, free of charge, to its citizens.
Interestingly, the bikes have a dynamo powered GPS tracking system, that as well as having theft deterrant benefits, will also trace the movement of the bikes and thus be able to map out the health benefits of the miles cycled.
With a goal to see ten per cent of journeys cycled in Birmingham by 2033, the City Council has targetted those most in need and most likely to use the cycles via a detailed application process.
The bikes are funded by a £60 million Department for Transport grant, which hopes to turn the city into a haven for cycling with fresh infrastructure and cycle training, among other things. Each of the beneficiaries of the freebie bikes has undergone a cycling proficiency test.
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for a Green, Smart and Sustainable City at Birmingham City Council, said: “The bikes are a significant investment for the Birmingham Cycle Revolution project and will help shape the future of cycling in the city. The bikes and hire schemes will enable people who cannot afford a bike and who want to cycle a chance of having one, opening up the form of transport to more people across Birmingham.
3,000 of the bikes will be given free to people who can demonstrate that they will use and take care of them. 1,000 will be available for long-term hire and a further 1,000 will be held at local Cycle Centres for day hire and short term loans. I hope people will take full advantage of the schemes and help Birmingham become greener, healthier and safer.”