Try a bike before you buy. This is the novel way Rotherham Council is using to encourage cycling take-up in the town.
The Council in partnership with cycling organisation Cycle Experience is running a “Cycle to Work” scheme that will see workers from participating companies in the town being given a free cycle loan for a month. At the end of the period, workers will have the chance to buy their bikes at a reduced rate or hand the bike back.
Any employee signing up to the Council’s scheme will be given full cycle training and receive support from Cycling Experience such as route planning, free bike maintenance support as well as email and telephone support throughout the trial period.
The project, which is being funded from a grant from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, has so far signed up one company – outsourcing specialists Ventura. Management there have been able to sign up 65 employees to use the cycle loan bikes. In a bid to encourage their employees to cycle, each participant at Ventura will be asked to keep an online diary and those who cycle the most will receive rewards for their perseverance.
Rotherham Council said the “Cycle to Work” scheme aimed to make it as easy as possible for participants to experience the many benefits of commuting by bike with the hope that individuals would make long term changes to ditch the car or public transport as a way of getting to work.
The Council and Cycle Experience have been stressing to companies and employees alike that commuting by bike can offer quicker and less stressful journeys; improved health, fitness and wellbeing; as well as saving money on car maintenance, petrol, car parking or bus fares.