The lucky recipients of the first wave of free bikes being given away as part of an ambitious new Birmingham scheme have been drawn during a lottery staged yesterday (February 4).
There has been huge interest in the Big Birmingham Bikes giveaway, with the initial phase of 1,500 cycles set to hit the streets shortly.
Part of the Â£24.3million Phase One of Birmingham City Councilâ€™s Cycle Revolution, Big Birmingham Bikes is a ground-breaking initiative aiming to encourage people of all backgrounds to get cycling regularly.
In December 2014, Raleigh bikes was awarded the contract to provide up to 5,000 Big Birmingham Bikes that will help encourage more cycling in the city.
In total, approximately 3,000 of the new bikes will be given away to people who are keen to cycle but for whom the cost of buying a bike is a barrier. The remainder will be available for shorter term loan through Big Birmingham Bikes Cycle Centres and other partner organisations across the city.
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for a Green, Smart and Sustainable City, said: â€œThis lottery draw marks yet another significant milestone on our journey towards making cycling an established form of sustainable transport in Birmingham.
â€œThe giveaway is just one part of our overall work to get more people cycling in Birmingham. Weâ€™re improving cycle routes alongside canals, creating new and improved links and across parks and green spaces and also improving cycling facilities on major routes around the city. To support this we have a range of cycle training opportunities that are being offered.
â€œAnyone who is eligible for a free bike but who misses out this time will automatically go into the hat for the second giveaway â€“ and it is not too late for anyone else to express an interest.
â€œThe response to this scheme has been very encouraging and itâ€™s clear that many people are interested in cycling but struggle to meet the cost of a new bike. Weâ€™re doing everything we can to help those who need support to access affordable transport and live healthier lives in the process.â€
The closing date to apply for the second stage of the giveaway is March 31. A second draw will then be made in the first week of April for the second batch of 1,500 bikes.
To qualify for a free bike loan, users will need a valid Birmingham City Council leisure card and have taken and passed the learn-to-ride Bikeability Level 2 and cycle maintenance courses. Bikes will be allocated by a lottery to people who register on the scheme and pass the necessary courses.
The Big Birmingham Bikes team has identified postcodes where the need for these bikes is greatest and applicants must be able to prove they live in one of the qualifying areas.
To apply go to: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/bbb
For pictures from the first draw, available for media use, please visit the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed.
For more media information please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621