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Silently scooting to work on an e-bike is good for you

MR1337 E-bikes KGH staff returning their e-bikes after the four week trial

Staff at Kettering and Northampton general hospitals have been silently scooting into work on e-bikes as part of a green initiative.

A total of 40 staff across the two hospitals have been using the electric-powered cycles – which can be ridden without pedalling - in July and early August to experience e-bikes as part of a council-run scheme to promote them.

Kettering General Hospital’s Travel Planning Group Lead, Richard Cook, who is working to develop sustainable travel options for staff and visitors, said: “E-bikes can be a great alternative to single occupant car journeys for people who live relatively close to their place of work.

“They help reduce pressure in car parking, reduce local congestions, provide health benefits and can help people in the current cost of living crisis by reducing petrol and diesel costs.

“We teamed up with North Northants and West Northants Council’s e-bike scheme to enable 20 of our staff at KGH and 20 at NGH to try out an e-bike for a four-week period.

“We know they are quite expensive to buy and so jumped at the chance to be part of this project. We are now working with the council and e-bike providers to try to explore possible discount schemes for NHS staff to help with their purchase.”

Staff love the bikes and say they work well

Staff at Kettering General Hospital gave the bikes the thumbs up after spending four weeks using them to commute to work and have fun in their spare time.

IT technician, Matt Brown, said: “The bike worked really well and it has been very enjoyable. It takes some of the stress out of cycling and the bikes are easy to charge overnight.

“You can still ride them if the charge runs out and I am seriously considering getting one.”

Directorate secretary, Kristin Petersen, said: “It has been very enjoyable to use. I have COPD, which means I can struggle to breathe. I have always loved cycling and using the e-bike to commute the five miles into work has been fantastic, a real joy.”

IT technician, Elliot Samuda, said: “It has been really good for commuting into work and I have also used them to go to Wicksteed Park in my spare time. You can also use it for quite long journeys – I have done trips of 35-40 miles, which might not be achievable for many people on a normal bike.”

How to get involved

Local businesses who are interested in taking part in the e-bike trial should contact their local council.

Cllr Graham Lawman, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive member for Highways, Travel and Assets, said: “This trial aims to increase interest in and use of e-bikes, so North Northants Council is pleased to support it as part of our active travel and green strategies.

“As part of the trial, we have a fleet of 40 e-bikes, which provides an opportunity for businesses and their staff to try out an e-bike free and with little risk for four weeks to see how it can work for them.

“We hope that this trial will enable staff to see the benefits such as better air quality and avoiding congestion, gain confidence and change their travel habits, whilst also supporting the business in their travel planning, reducing the pressure on staff parking whilst supporting their staff to become more active.”

The council has partnered with Outspoken Cycles to run the scheme. On delivery, staff are shown how to use the bikes, charge them up and there are a range of different types of bikes – each one with GPS tracker. Depending on the model a charge lasts from 40-110 miles.

The offer is open to any business in Northamptonshire which is willing to facilitate the e-bike loan for their staff.  The business must firstly register an interest and a member of the project team will be in touch to discuss the requirements.  The business will then be able to share sign-up details with their staff, who will have to individually register and sign the T&C’s.

For more information on the council scheme email: e-bikescheme@northnorthants.gov.uk

Posted on Friday 12th August 2022
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