Sheffielders encouraged to ‘Get on ‘yer bike!’

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Over 600 Sheffield commuters will be targeted by an innovative industry-backed scheme encouraging them to travel by bike instead of car in 2011.

Bike Hub-supported BikeBoost Sheffield provides commuters with a month-long loan of a quality city bike, cycling equipment, on road cycle training and free cycle maintenance. In return the new cyclists pledge to try and make 50 per cent of their journeys by bike over the loan period.

Over 150 of the 2010 participants have vowed to continue cycling to work, while 74 per cent of them have bought or plan to buy a new bike.

In the first eight months of the scheme participants rode over 10,000 miles, saving 5,000kg of CO2 emissions and burning 300,000 calories.

BikeBoost is delivered by Get Cycling, a York based Community Interest Company. Chief exec Jim McGurn explained: “We were the first organisation to identify that people who do not cycle to work need more encouragement to give it a try, and our loan scheme allows them to get into the habit of cycling to work without any financial risk.”

Sheffield City Council also backs the scheme alongside the Bike Hub industry levy.

BikeBoost participant John Benyon of Dixons Store Group International said: “I now prefer cycling to car and walking. I cycle to the pub, work. I cycle everywhere. I’ve used the car once or twice since the scheme.”

The Environment Agency’s Karen Wildon said: “Environment Agency I can’t believe how confident I’ve become riding through the city – it’s my favourite bit now!”

Encouraging staff to cycle to work also benefits the employer, explained Sheffield Hallam University’s Rajesh Dhimar: “Cycling has been most regular exercise I have done in recent years. Not only has it changed the way I look and feel but I have extra umph with which to start the day. My commuting time is reduced; the cost of travel is reduced, and there’s been a positive impact on work – there’s no energy dip in the afternoon.”