The city and county councils in Leicester and Leicestershire have linked up with the Department for Transport to offer residents the chance to try getting around on electric bikes.
The county council is providing the opportunity for people to apply for a voucher which gives them £300 off the cost of an electric bike.
Meanwhile, in the city, the council is offering free and discounted access to its new ebike share scheme, Santander Cycles Leicester, for key workers, young jobseekers, recent graduates and those with disabilities.
The Wheels to Work scheme ebike fleet – which loans bikes to commuters – is also being expanded, and free cycle training is on offer, alongside ebike try-out events, over the summer.
Cllr Adam Clarke, deputy city mayor for environment and transport, said: “Our new ebike share scheme, Santander Cycles Leicester, has had a really successful start, with more than 10,000 trips made so far. This additional funding from the Department for Transport will allow us to introduce even more people to the scheme.
“We’ll also be using the money to provide more people with ebikes on loan so that they can choose active travel for their commute, and we’ll be making cycling more inclusive through our free training and try-out events.
“It’s vital that we find innovative travel solutions to help tackle the climate emergency. We’re proud of the range of healthy, active travel initiatives we have in Leicester, backed up by increasingly people-friendly streets to help make cycling a safer and more attractive option for everyone.”
Leicestershire residents can claim their voucher by signing up to a training course run by the county council’s sustainable travel team. The county council is hosting drop-in events across the county where you can find out more about the benefits of electric bikes and try one for yourself.
Councillor Ozzy O’Shea, county council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Electric bikes are fantastic for people making longer journeys who may not be used to cycling, or need more assistance when they cycle.
“You still have to pedal so it is a fantastic form of exercise. The more people cycling around our county and city the better, every person choosing to leave their car at home is a winner for the environment.
“I encourage anyone who is interested in getting into cycling – or learning more about electric bikes – to sign up to a training course and speak to our teams about the benefits of owning an electric bike.”
City residents can claim support through the Youth Employment Hub on Gallowtree Gate, through the ‘Leicester Graduate City’ scheme and through local employers who are supporting Santander Cycles Leicester. These include the NHS, Walkers Midshire Foods, De Montfort University and BID Leicester.
These initiatives have been made possible thanks to £250k of funding from the Department for Transport’s e-cycle extension fund.
Ebike share provider Ride On is also supporting the scheme with a £40k contribution for cycle training, guided rides and try-out events for people of all ages and abilities, from all communities.
Cycling minister Chris Heaton Harris MP said: “As we build back greener from the pandemic, this Government is committed to enabling as many people as possible to boost their health and fitness and help reduce emissions by hopping on a bike and taking up cycling for shorter journeys.
“This announcement will help make this happen, with a total of £1.48 million going towards fantastic initiatives in areas right across the country to promote the use of e-cycles. So whether you’re new to cycling, or would like to try a cycle that does some of the legwork for you, these initiatives will help more people to have access to active forms of travel.”