In the heart of England a quiet revolution is stirring – a cycle revolution in fact! Delivered by Birmingham City Council in partnership with Sustrans, a leading UK charity which enables people to travel by foot, bike or public transport the Birmingham Cycle Revolution is helping to change attitudes bit by bit.
During National Commute Smart Week Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Transport and Roads at Birmingham City Council, dropped in to hear more about the workplace bike loan scheme – one of the initiatives being wheeled out across the city.
He met staff from JMP, a consultancy firm based in the centre of Birmingham, who have been taking part in the scheme. As part of the project, JMP have been loaned a bike, helmet and D lock. The bike is available for all staff to use for travelling to meetings around the city. They’ve also facilitated other cycling activities including Dr. Bike sessions – where experienced cyclists and mechanics check everything on a bike.
Cycling is a great way to get across Birmingham as the city is blessed with 161 miles of bike routes – and research suggests that more and more people want to cycle. Research collected in the Birmingham Bike Life survey, conducted in 2015, suggests that nearly half of residents living in the city (43%) own a bike and a third (32%) said they don’t cycle but would like to. Many of the staff at JMP that have taken part in the bike loan scheme hadn’t cycled for a long time but say they now really enjoy cycling.
Speaking during National Commute Smart Week Louise Aspinall, Project Officer from Birmingham Cycle Revolution, said: “This project is all about making it easier for people to cycle more – and National Commute Smart Week is a great time to think again about how we travel.
The evidence suggests that many people in Birmingham want to cycle more which is why this programme is so important. Cycling’s a great way to keep healthy but it’s also a very practical way of getting from A to B. It can also make it easier for people to access employment by removing transport as a barrier into work.”
Commenting on the scheme Cllr Stacey said: “This is a great scheme which offers staff at businesses such as JMP the opportunity to cycle to meetings rather than using a car, helping them to keep fit as well as doing their bit for the environment.
“A key part of Birmingham Cycle Revolution is encouraging people to think about the way they travel around the city and specifically to promote cycling as a healthier, greener alternative. And who knows? Schemes such as this may even encourage staff to take up cycling on a more frequent basis. I hope more businesses will follow JMP’s example.”