Scheme helps people get on their bike in Luton and Central Bedfordshire

L to R Charlotte Secker (Central Bedfordshire Council), Carol Thomas (Luton Borough Council), Nazia Mahboob (Luton Borough Council), Joanne Moore (Central Bedfordshire Council), Funmi Atolagbe (Bedford Borough Council).
L to R Charlotte Secker (Central Bedfordshire Council), Carol Thomas (Luton Borough Council), Nazia Mahboob (Luton Borough Council), Joanne Moore (Central Bedfordshire Council), Funmi Atolagbe (Bedford Borough Council).

A scheme run by Central Bedfordshire Council, Luton Council and Bedford Borough Council which sees unwanted bikes ‘recycled’ has won a national award.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s Travel Choices team won the Excellence in Cycling category at the 2018 Modeshift National Sustainable Travel Awards for their part in the project, which provides low-cost bikes to those who otherwise would not be able to afford a new one.

So far, more than 300 bikes have been restored and given to residents across Bedfordshire since the scheme was launched in April 2017.

The project collects bikes from recycling centres, via public donations and from the police, which are then fully serviced and returned to a road-worthy condition.

Children’s bikes are donated once children have completed their Bikeability cycle safety training at school. Money from the cycle sales is reinvested to cover running costs.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “This is a great scheme which makes the most of unwanted items to help others who are less fortunate.

“These bikes enable the recipients to have free access to a fun, healthy and non-polluting mode of transport.

“Participants in the scheme have reported that their self-esteem, motivation and overall lifestyle has now improved as a result. As well as the direct benefits to the individual, cycling also means healthier and safer streets, which in turn help to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality.”

A list of all the bikes available is accessible at the Travel Choices Hub in Ashton Square, Dunstable. Residents can donate a bike to the project by emailing: TravelChoices@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.