“CycleBoost loans are for people who are thinking about cycling to work, education or training, but don’t want to invest in a decent city bike until they’ve given it a try to see whether they can actually do it,” said Sheffield Council senior transport planner Paul Sullivan.
The CycleBoost scheme, part of this year’s £2.5 million Inmotion! sustainable travel programme across South Yorkshire, is funded by the Department for Transport under one of the largest grants made to a local authority in this year’s sustainable transport funding round. The first phase of this year’s cycle loan scheme was supported by Sheffield BID and the Chamber of Commerce. Phase 2 adds the support of the city’s MoveMore activity initiative and Sheffield International Venues.
Successful applicants borrow a Sheffield-friendly multi-geared hybrid bike for three weeks, along with free cycle commuting tips and maintenance support. Bikes can be returned afterwards subject to a token loan fee, or can be bought at discount by participants taking full part in the scheme. Over the next two weeks, any adults who live or work in Sheffield can apply for one of the 80-90 places on the scheme at: www.sheffieldcycleboost.org/loans. The autumn scheme means that participants can get themselves cycling in time for Christmas and New Year resolution season, say organisers.
After cycling a total distance equivalent to Sheffield to Turkey, the first 136 CycleBoosters of the year were loving seeing the city by two wheels, reporting on the views from the city’s parks, the speed of the journey into work, and the ability to pass traffic jams. “ Got to work in 28 mins, home in 37. Probably quicker than the car,” said a new cycling midwife.
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“Many companies now are seeing that encouraging cycling to work benefits them as well as the employee. It cuts congestion and improves air quality, and the employee will take less time off work, will have higher morale and will be more productive,” said Paul Sullivan.
“A lot of people see exercise as something you do out of work, but during your commute you’re using up that time anyway, so rather than being stuck in traffic, you can be cycling and fit in your exercise before you’ve even started work,” said CycleBooster Lea Fountain from Sheffield Children’s Hospital.