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Big Issue to make ebikes hire scheme accessible across UK





Lord Bird unveils The Big Issue eBikes scheme. Picture: Louise Haywood-Schiefer
Lord Bird unveils The Big Issue eBikes scheme. Picture: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, has officially marked the launch of the organisation’s joint venture, The Big Issue eBikes, in partnership with ShareBike.

The ‘Biking for Good’ initiative was announced on Monday (November 9). Lord Bird, a keen cyclist, sampled one of the ebikes, in a distinctive bold red and white design, in his home city, Cambridge, and called on councils and local businesses to take up the scheme to provide ethical and sustainable ways for people to travel, and support unemployed or vulnerable people back into skilled work. Biking for Good will also be available for the general public to use.

Due to be rolled out across the UK in early 2021, Biking fir Good will be operated by Norway-based ShareBike, who will recruit and retrain people who were previously unemployed and support them back into work to run the schemes.

Lord Bird said: “We are living through some dark times, with predictions that hundreds of thousands of people could lose their jobs and be made homeless. It’s been wonderful to come together with a like-minded organisation with a truly innovative venture that offers hope to those facing great adversity due to Covid-related poverty.

“We are confident that The Big Issue eBikes scheme will recruit and retrain unemployed and vulnerable people in local communities and provide them with access to support and services to improve their lives. So by renting an ebike from The Big Issue not only are you doing good for the environment but you are doing good for others too. You are biking for good.”

Lord Bird on King’s Parade with one of the new ShareBikes. Picture: Louise Haywood-Schiefer
Lord Bird on King’s Parade with one of the new ShareBikes. Picture: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

ShareBike operates schemes across Europe, including Cambridge Electric Transport, which has its ebikes available on hire to businesses in the city, and in villages around the region.

Jan Tore Endresen, CEO of ShareBike, said: “In our partnership with The Big Issue, ShareBike sees a unique opportunity to help people whilst providing sustainable mobility. With more than 20 years’ experience in global bike sharing we have ensured that Big Issue eBikes offer a comfortable and convenient alternative to fossil fuel-based transportation, as well as providing an affordable mode of travelling around cities in the UK.”

Councils or businesses interested in the scheme can find out how they can set up an eBike scheme in their local community, or where the scheme will operate near you, here. An app that will support the scheme will be announced at a later stage.

The Big Issue is already fighting the housing and unemployment crisis through the Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA), bringing together innovative ideas and experts to help keep people in work and in their homes during the recession. The new scheme will form part of RORA’s activities to support and re-train people to find new employment pathways in green and ethical industries.



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