800 Sheffield cyclists are to benefit from bike loans and a full support programme over the next two years thanks to the BikeBoost initiative.
Funded by the Bike Hub New Ideas Fund (a bike industry offshoot from the levy fund), Get Cycling and Sheffield City Council, BikeBoost officers will assess participants’ needs and skills with a view to the free loan of commuter cycles and accessories, possibly including power-assist bikes for the less fit and folding bikes for mixed-mode journeys. Specialised cycles will also be available for participants with disabilities.
The bike loans are based on a Cycle 50 per cent Challenge – for the chance to try our cycling for free, participants have to cycle to work for at least 50 per cent of the days in the challenge period of three to four weeks.
Each participant is offered two hours of free cycle training from Pedal Ready, with those living and working in Sheffield entitled to a further two hours.
Participants can purchase their bikes from the bike dealers of Sheffield at an approximate discount of 40 per cent through the Government-sponsored cycle to work scheme.
A customised website supports the scheme, promoting competition between individuals and departments with companies. Companies can also compete to save the most units of CO2.
It is hoped that if BikeBoost proves successful in Sheffield, it will be rolled out across South Yorkshire and beyond.
Jim McGurn, MD of Get Cycling, says: “We chose Sheffield ahead of all other cities thanks to the strong commitment and support shown by the City Council, Sheffield’s voluntary cycling organisations and by Sheffield’s cycle training organisation, Pedal Ready”.
Cllr Ian Auckland, Sheffield City Councils Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development and Transport, states: “We are committed to encouraging more people to choose the healthy option of cycling to work whenever possible. It not only helps with their personal fitness, but a healthy workforce means less sick leave and it’s great for the environment too! I hope that many businesses around the city will get behind this scheme and encourage their employees to get ‘on their bikes’.”