Overview

The wider the range of cycles and accessories such as trailers that are available, the greater the number of trips that can be cycled

If you visit a place where a high proportion (and greater variety) of journeys are cycled, you’ll see a much wider type of cycles and associated equipment. Not just tricycles and bikes adapted to carry children but also cargo bikes that can carry loads. Electric bikes are also growing in popularity and can make cycling an attractive option for longer trips, especially in hilly areas or for older people. The types of cycles to consider are:

  • e-bikes - technically known as Electric Assist Pedal Cycles (EAPC), to be classed as a pedal cycle their engine must cut out at speeds above 15.5mph
  • trailers - these attach to cycles and can allow a normal cycle to carry a load easily
  • cargo bikes - these really do come in all shapes and sizes, making carrying different types of loads easy
  • specially adapted cycles - for people with disabilities or other special needs

These different types of cycles, although much cheaper to buy, let alone run, than motor vehicles, can seem expensive. They are not sold in many cycle shops and there is not much of a second hand market. So there is a particular need to consider ways to help increase their use, particularly as many people are not familiar with the varieties on offer. Some of these can help increase the use of normal cycles too. The following are the main options to consider:

  • try out or ‘have a go’ schemes - allowing people to try a different type of cycle for a day or longer
  • hire and loan schemes - allowing people to borrow a bike when they don’t have theirs with them, or equipment such as a trailer they may not need to use often
  • bike pools - offer a pool of cycles to a community, such as at workplaces, effectively a free loan to a particular class of people
  • public bike hire schemes - offer self service bikes on street, such as the London Cycle Hire Scheme
  • courier services - offer pedal power deliveries, whether of small items such as food up to quarter of a tonne

As part of any initiative to promote and encourage cycling, it is also worth considering loans, prizes or subsidies of equipment such as racks, bungees, child seats and panniers (bike bags), which can make it surprisingly easy to carry many loads. In order to extend the times and seasons that people cycle some cycle projects have also done the same with cycle lights and waterproofs.

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