Bike libraries are boosting access to cycles in the UK


A new scheme that provides bikes to local communities has launched across Greater Manchester, following a £145,000 (US$173,000) investment from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

The bike libraries allow people to borrow a bike, with the aim of encouraging people to take advantage of the new cycling routes being delivered as part of the Bee Network across Greater Manchester. There are 14 bike libraries are currently in operation – in Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Stockport – with 13 more set to launch over the coming months. The libraries offer a range of different bikes, including bikes for adults and children, trikes and Bromptons – which were delivered in partnership with the Wheels for Heroes scheme.

26 community organizations, ranging from primary schools to healthcare providers, have received a grant of up to £5,000 (US$6,000) to help set up a bike library. Funding has also been made available for each organization to access training to help with the maintenance of their bikes.

“Bike libraries are an essential part of the Greater Manchester strategy and enable more people to access cycling in a way and at a time that is right for them,” says Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel commissioner. “Many people using the libraries may have cycled before but need the flexibility of borrowing a bike to help them rebuild their confidence and try new routes. They are also a good way of working out what sort of bike they may need. Along with the cycle hire scheme, which aims to support shorter journeys by bike in specific parts of Manchester, Salford and Trafford, bike library loans are reaching further afield and enabling people to explore their local area at their leisure.”

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Lauren is a regular contributor to Traffic Technology International (TTi) and a freelance technical journalist. Over the past 15 years, she has worked on a wide variety of B2B publications and websites, including a stint as deputy editor of Traffic Technology International from 2014-2016. She has a degree in English from the University of Exeter. Lauren is mum to two busy little girls. She is always in demand!