Hundreds more students will start pedalling around Leeds from next week when the UK’s first large scale university bike loan scheme launches as part of UTravelActive, a million pound project to get students more active through cycling and walking.
The low cost bike loan scheme, from ‘VELOCAMPUS LEEDS’, part of UTravelActive, and based on the successful ‘Velocampus’ at Nantes University in France, will offer 200 bicycles for hire to students from this September at The University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University. Over the next three years, a further 300-plus bikes will expand the scheme.
More than one million pounds of funding is being put into UTravelActive over four years from the two universities, the Big Lottery Fund, Sustrans, Leeds Primary Care Trust and Leeds City Council.
The 21-speed hybrid bikes are clearly identifiable as belonging to VELOCAMPUS LEEDS and are security stamped and coded. Each bike will be loaned out for the year, complete with lights and lock, on a first come first served basis.
UTravelActive project manager Lisa Brannan said: “Everyone knows that cycling is a healthy and environmentally friendly way of getting about – cycling to university is one of the easiest ways for students to achieve the daily recommended 30 minutes of activity to benefit their health. But it can also be much quicker than driving and journey times don’t vary with traffic.”
Rob Damiao, LUU Community officer, said “Many students live within four miles of the campuses, which is an ideal distance for getting there by bike. Cars clog up the streets and buses are expensive, so I’m sure the bike hire will be popular with students and a real asset to the universities and the local community.”
Other UTravelActive activities to encourage sustainable travel include bike buddying to help boost beginner cyclists’ confidence on the roads by teaming them up with someone more experienced; safer cycling and walking route planning and advice; self-help bike maintenance sessions; social rides, walks and events.
For more information on UtravelActive, contact Lisa Brannan at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0113 343 6573.
Further information about Sustrans, including other news releases and detailed online route mapping, is available through the website: www.sustrans.org.uk