Since the Tour de France, cycling participation has increased significantly with over 18,000 more people cycling in Yorkshire according to Sport England figures (Active People Survey, 2015). Yorkshire has shown some of the largest increases in cycling participation jumping from seventh to second in the rankings in 2014 and now hosts its own tour - “Tour de Yorkshire”.
Barnsley Council is committed to sustainable transport and offers employees access to schemes such as Cycle 2 Work to enable them to purchase bikes more cheaply. With this scheme in mind and also the realisation that not everyone in Barnsley could access this benefit and that bikes were still quite expensive, staff in Environment and Transport’s Contracts and Data team working alongside partner FCC Environment realised that a large number of perfectly good bikes were being disposed of as waste through the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC’s) and these could be reused.
To support the project the team identified a local “not for profit” organisation, Cycle Penistone CIC based in Penistone adjacent to the Trans Pennine Trail, 82km of which runs through the borough of Barnsley.
Cycle Penistone is a government funded community project that specialises in cycle repair, rental and sales. The project sees used bikes recycled and offered for hire and for sale to local residents at affordable prices. A large variety of bikes are offered including 6 bespoke bikes that are adapted to a disabled person’s needs.
Working together with the site contactor FCC Environment it was established that they could apply to the Environment Agency to allow the bikes to be taken out of the waste stream to facilitate reuse and this was done in late 2016.
Cycle Penistone were approached and agreed to take part in a trial to see if the scheme could work. Within a few months it was apparent that the scheme had great potential, transporting the bikes from site to Penistone had been an initial barrier but Cycle Penistone purchased a van to do this. Keeping bikes safe on site was an issue but FCC provided “reuse” containers as part of a wider project which overcame the problem. Cycle Penistone sent a staff member to all the HWRC sites to train the site staff to select the bikes that could be easily refurbished for reuse and promote the project.
The recycled bikes are available from as little as £25 and are given a full refurbishment including a 9 point safety check before being sold back to the market with a 3 month indemnity warranty. Cycles are available for purchase either from the site at Penistone or through the Cycle Penistone website.
As a result of the additional bikes available for refurbishment and increased publicity through the scheme Cycle Penistone soon set on an apprentice and employed 5 part time staff to assist with the website, sales, back office and additional customers for the bike hire and servicing. In June 2017 Cycle Penistone sold their 300th bike “rescued” under the scheme and identified a need for more sales outlets for the bikes throughout the borough.
The Contracts and Data team identified a further opportunity to set up a cycle hire scheme for young children in one of the local parks. By working in conjunction with Parks Services, Cycle Penistone and the café owner at award winning Elsecar Park, they were able to get a new innovative scheme underway in July this year.
The scheme focuses on getting children active by providing 12 recycled bikes andhelmets for hire at an affordable price for use in the park. The Contracts and Data team arranged for a container to be delivered to the park so that the bikes could be stored safely, Cycle Penistone then delivered 16 bikes varying in size along with the helmets. These bikes are aimed at 3 - 7 year olds and cost £2 per hour. Elsecar Park was chosen for the pilot scheme as they already hire out pitch and putt equipment so are used to administering a hire scheme. Currently 50 bikes have been hired out through the Elsecar Park scheme; this is a fantastic achievement given the wet August weather. If successful then it is hoped that this idea can be rolled out in other Parks and tourist attractions across the borough and developed into a greater range of bikes for hire where appropriate.
A special launch date was arranged on Wednesday the 12th of July where children from a local primary school attended the park to trial the bicycles whilst press attended from BBC Radio Sheffield, Hallam FM, Barnsley Today magazine and the Barnsley Chronicle. The day was a huge success, the children were clearly enjoying their selves and the published articles/ media pieces were fantastic.