£100k raised via Bike Hub levy to be split between three projects which put in applications for the inaugural New Ideas Fund.

Bike industry grants cash to three ‘increase cycling’ schemes

The winning bids were Bikeboost from Get Cycling 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.

A Bike Hub committee made up of representatives of the bicycle retail trade and suppliers met to decide on 25 bids from a variety of organisations, schools, colleges and not-for-profit businesses.

"The calibre of applications was first class," said Phillip Darnton, chair of the Bike Hub committee.

"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-focussed emphasis of the very successful Bike It scheme which Bike Hub paid to get off the ground and which now has 45 cycling-to-school officers.

"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."

Get Cycling of York is a ten year old community interest company providing cycling programmes and events nationally. Get Cycling’s Bikeboost is a cycling to work support programme serving large urban workplaces in the north of England. A Bikeboost officer will work with company managements, 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.

Get Cycling MD Chris Hamm said: "This builds on our long experience of cycling to work programmes, and allows us to experiment with techniques for more localised delivery. We are delighted that our pioneering work has been recognised in this way, and look forward to the challenge.”

Age Well on Wheels will be delivered by the London Cycling Campaign, but, if successful, like the other backed schemes, could be rolled out across the UK.

The scheme was born in 2008, with an over 60’s LCC member delivering a small pilot project. Gwen Cook recognised cycling as a great solution to get older people active as well as being a convenient way for ‘silver cyclists’ to get about. However, older non-cyclists lacked confidence and overestimated 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 percent 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 coordination 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 increase and expand the numbers of people at retirement age who cycle regularly nationwide."

DARLOVELO, Darlington
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 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: a cadre of young women in Darlington spent time with young women in bike-friendly Bremen, and the Bremen bikers came across to the UK to see at first hand the great strides this Cycling Demonstration Town is making to create a local bicycle culture.

DarloVelo coordinator Richard Grassick said: "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 every-day 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. Gentle every-day cycling as a cultural phenomenon will be noticed by the wider population. Interest will be rekindled in local bike shops. A new market will be established."

The New Ideas Fund of £100,000 is a new, annual award for non-for-profit local bicycle schemes which have the potential to go national. The New Ideas Fund is administered by the Bicycle Association of Great Britain on behalf of the Bike Hub levy scheme.

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