A community hub which provides the public with free trials of e-cycles, has opened its first community hub at Leicester Bike Park, by a charity which hopes it will provide more opportunities for Leicester residents to go electric.
The new Making cycling e-asier community hub opened yesterday (Monday, February 20), when the first e-cycle loans were collected by beneficiaries.
Located in Town Hall Square, free one-month loans are now available to book, and skills and confidence sessions will be rolled out in the coming months. Leicester residents will be able to access the scheme until October 2023.
Supported by an expert consortium of industry partners and funded by the Department for Transport, the scheme aims to give more than 6000 Leicester locals the opportunity to discover the benefits of e-cycling for short everyday journeys through community hubs, selected workplaces and Evans Cycles.
Blue Kang, who loaned an e-cycle from Evans Cycles in Leicester said: “Having heard about the scheme, I was so pleased to see it launching in Leicester and immediately signed up. I haven’t ridden a bicycle for 45 years whilst driving cars, so now aged 63 and semi-retired, having an e-bike was helpful in keeping me active, but also for getting me out and about.
“It really gave me the confidence to get back cycling and be conscious and aware of what’s happening on the roads. Then I ventured around local cycle routes and saw amazing places which were not visible when driving in a car on main roads. I would honestly and highly recommend this to anyone regardless of age, it’s been such a wonderful and enjoyable experience.”
Currently 59 per cent of journeys under five miles are driven, however the cost-of-living-crisis is pushing many to consider alternative and cheaper ways to travel. Making cycling e-asier aims to support communities across England by encouraging them to pedal when they can.
By giving people the opportunity to discover the cost, health and environmental benefits of e-cycling, it is hoped that Making cycling e-asier will help them make the decision to pedal more and cut down on unnecessary short car journeys.
E-cycles offer pedal assistance and give users an extra boost which can make cycling, especially up hills, less strenuous and more accessible.
Cycling Minister Jesse Norman said: “E-cycles can play a vital part in helping more people, including older people and those with disabilities, to stay active for their local journeys, boosting health while reducing congestion and helping the environment.
“That is why the Government has invested £8 million in the Making cycling e-asier campaign, in addition to the cycle to work scheme to help more people use e-cycles.”
People can sign up and find more information about the scheme via Cycling UK’s website.
One month e-cycle loans are based on a first come first serve basis with limited availability.
For more information, please visit cyclinguk.org/making-cycling-e-asier