£110k of trade cash goes to projects to increase cycle-use levels among young women, bike-to-workers and pensioner pedallers. Carlton Reid takes a closer look at the projects...

BIKE HUB: Levy fund rewards age, beauty and hard graft

In July, the Bike Hub levy fund committee chose to split the New Ideas Fund between three localised projects which have the potential to be scaled out nationally.

The committee members who had to decide between 25 strong bids were chair Phillip Darnton; IBDs Chris Compton and Andy Shrimpton; the ACT’s Mark
Brown; Mark Bickerton of Cyclemotion; Ian Beasant, general manager of Giant; John Moore of Moore Large; and Carlton Reid, executive editor of BikeBiz.

There had been applications from Cyclenation (formerly known as the Cycle Campaign Network), Sustrans, Cycling Scotland, and a number of secondary schools and colleges.

Bidders had to be not-for-profit schemes and could come from anywhere in the UK.

“The calibre of applications was first class,” said Phillip Darnton. “It was very tough for us to come up with a shortlist and then decide on a winner. In the end, we chose three applications, all very different to the youth-focused emphasis of the very successful Bike It scheme, which Bike Hub paid to get off the ground and now has 45 cycling-to-school officers across the UK.

“We only had £100,000 to offer and much as we’d have liked to back all of the projects we saw, we had to pick the best of the best.”

The winning bids were Bikeboost from GetCycling of York; Age Well on Wheels, a scheme by the London Cycling Campaign; and DarloVelo of Darlington. Funding for a separate, Bike It-style scheme for Scotland came from the general Bike Hub kitty, not the New Ideas Fund.

GetCycling of York is a ten year-old community interest company providing cycling programmes and events nationally. GetCycling’s Bikeboost is a cycling-to-work support programme serving large urban workplaces in Sheffield, Hull and Leeds. A Bikeboost officer will work with company management, workplace travel planners, health promotion professionals, local cycle dealers, adult cycle trainers, Cycle to Work scheme providers, the local media and individuals who wish to take up cycling to, or at work.

The GetCycling MD Chris Hamm said: “In particular, we wish to develop partnerships with local IBDs, to enable the local delivery of our commuter bike loan schemes.”

Age Well on Wheels will be fulfilled by the London Cycling Campaign, but if successful, like the other backed schemes, could be rolled out across the UK.
The initiative was born in 2008, with an over-60s LCC member delivering a small pilot project. Gwen Cook recognised cycling as a great solution to getting older people active, as well as being a convenient way for ‘silver cyclists’ to get about.

However, older non-cyclists often lack confidence and overestimate the barriers to cycling. Her Age Well on Wheels pilot project was run in Hammersmith and Fulham and provided cycle training tuition with a focus on trainers who had experience working with an older generation.

Cook said: “The project was a huge success. Over 40 per cent of participants bought bikes and now use them day-to-day. All participants reported that they felt improvements in confidence, balance, strength in their legs and co-ordination by the end of their course.

“As a result of this successful project, we now have a template and this project can be expanded across London. And we hope one day to scale up the success and the experience of the pilot project, thus increasing and expanding the number of people at retirement age who cycle regularly nationwide.”

DarloVelo is a Darlington project aiming to get more young women on two wheels. It was created by the Darlington Cycling Campaign, in partnership with Darlington Media Group, and is supported by Darlington Borough Council.

It aims to increase cycling levels in Darlington through promotions, virtual hand-holding, long-term loan of female-friendly stylish urban bikes and exchange schemes.

DarloVelo co-ordinator Richard Grassick explained: “A drop in female cyclists occurs during the mid-teenage years. This coincides with the age at which girls become young women and, as far as mobility is concerned, no longer want to be seen on ‘childish’ bicycles.

“The membership and hire structure of the project is designed to encourage members to hire our bikes continuously over a two-year period. We aim to get young women into the habit of everyday cycling.

“Our belief is that, once established in a town with just under 100,000 inhabitants, a critical proportion of visible cyclists will have been reached. Interest will be rekindled in local bike shops. A new market will be established.”


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