Thousands across Birmingham will be getting on their bikes after a deal was agreed to boost the city’s pedal power.
Raleigh has been awarded a contract to supply 5,000 bikes to Birmingham City Council – and 3,000 will be given away to those keen to cycle but unable to afford it.
The remaining 2,000 “Big Birmingham Bikes” will be used to hire out around the city, similar to Boris Bikes in London, and comes after £17 million of funding was secured from the Department for Transport last year.
The initiative is part of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution project that aims to make cycling an everyday form of transport over the next 20 years.
Raleigh was selected through a tender process that specified the criteria for an especially sturdy bike, suitable for inner city journeys.
Councillor Lisa Trickett, cabinet member for a green, smart and sustainable city at Birmingham City Council, said only those who can’t afford bikes will receive them, and the scheme was part of a wider push to encourage Brummies out of their cars.
She said: “On its own if we were to give 3,000 bikes away it would be madness. But we are putting cycle lanes around canals, around the MAC and improving cycling lanes on major routes around the city.
“We have a range of schemes working with schools and it is only part of a package of measures which include infrastructure and behavioural change.”
The 5,000 bikes will start to arrive early next year when the first batch of 1,500 will be delivered in January. A further 1,500 will arrive around mid-February and March with the remaining 2,000 due to be delivered shortly afterwards.
To qualify for a free bike loan, users will need a valid Birmingham City Council leisure card and have taken and pass cycling proficiency and maintenance courses.
Bikes will be allocated by a postcode lottery to people who register on the scheme and pass the necessary courses.
The Bikeability courses will kick off from January 12 at cycle centres across the city and you can register your interest and apply to be considered for a bike online at www.birmingham.gov.uk/bbb.
Phil Woodward, key accounts manager at Raleigh said: “As one of the most well-known brands in the UK we feel that we can offer Birmingham residents a high quality cycling experience, along with an exciting package of supporting measures.”