Two electric bike loan schemes that have successfully encouraged more local residents to swap their car for a bike in communities across Wales will receive additional funding for a further year, the Welsh Government has announced.
The E-Move scheme operated by Sustrans and Pedal Power’s ‘See Cycling Differently’ scheme have both been running successfully with the help of Welsh Government funding since 2021 and have seen significant numbers of people using their service.
Sustrans, offers a range of battery assisted electric bikes for free, on medium-term loan, for local residents who do not cycle regularly or find the cost of electric bikes a barrier to using them.
The scheme which is operating in five locations across Wales – Rhyl, Swansea, Newtown (with links to Aberystwyth) and Barry – is estimated to have saved 600kg of CO2 in its first year, with users reporting a 39% drop in car journeys and a 76% positive impact on their wellbeing.
Pedal Power’s ‘See Cycling Differently’ project, which is aimed at increasing the inclusivity of cycling by offering a range of e-cycles, has also experienced similar success with an increase in regular e-cycle and adaptive e-cycle riders and more people taking up their free e-cycle tasters.
Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with a responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said:
“I am delighted that these Welsh Government funded schemes have been a great success. We need to do all we can to encourage more people to swap their car for a bike to travel shorter journeys.
“Cycling isn’t just better for the environment, it’s much cheaper than running a car and great for your mental and physical health too – as a regular cyclist myself, I know this is true. You should give it a try!”
Programme Manager at Sustrans, Liz Rees said,
“Since 2021, the E-Move project has helped people in five disadvantaged communities across Wales to access and borrow e-bikes for free. This has meant people with poor public transport links, lack of access to cars, and age and health conditions have been able to travel and access green spaces. 70% of participants reported a positive impact on their health, and 76% a positive impact on their wellbeing. Altogether, participants and organisations are estimated to have saved 600kg of CO2 in the first year of the project by using e-cycles and e-cargo cycles in the place of cars or vans.
“Sustrans is very happy to have received a further year of funding for the E-Move project in 2023/24. This will enable us to ensure greater gender equity amongst project beneficiaries, embed the project across our focus communities, and help with legacy arrangements so that we can transfer ownership of the e-bikes to the local communities when the project ends.”
One of the businesses that has benefitted from the Sustrans scheme is Rosa’s Bakery in Neath which is using e-bikes to deliver bread to the community. Company Director, Chris Cundill, said ,
“This is a great way of getting our bread out to the people who maybe can’t make it to the bakery for whatever reason, and when we found out about this scheme, we were delighted because it’s a bit of a risk and you want to test the waters, you think will this work in our location? We’d heard about some bakeries in London using this model, but this is Neath in South Wales, so you think will the same principle work, and we’re delighted that already there’s a lot of buzz around it.”
Sian Donovan, Director of Pedal Power Cycling Centre & Bike Hire said,
“Our SeE Cycling Differently project, with e cycles funded by Welsh Government, has been a fantastic addition to our fleet of bikes and trikes, offering even more options for cycling to older and disabled cyclists. We are delighted that the project has been extended ( we are in the process of purchasing an e hand trike) as we have experienced such positive feedback when people have tried the e bikes, e trikes and e cargo bikes for themselves.
“We always stress that the e assist is there, not to reduce activity, but to support further and steeper cycling – still active (with all the health benefits) and even more fun! Our aim to reduce any barriers to cycling has truly been boosted with our e fleet and we want to encourage as many people as possible to come and try them and see the difference an e cycle can make to your life. We are offering taster sessions to groups and individuals plus short and long term hire and loans so our message is to get in touch and get e cycling!”