WORKERS and sailors at Portsmouth dockyard have been using pedal power to get about, in a drive to make the base greener and more efficient.
A fleet of 15 bicycles, similar to the so-called Boris Bikes used in London, has been launched at Portsmouth Naval Base, giving MoD and dockyard staff a way to quickly get around the city base.
The scheme, branded the ‘NAVYfit Loan Bike Scheme’, was started with the objective of improving the efficiency and quality of life in the naval base.
The scheme was launched by Commodore Jeremy Rigby, Portsmouth naval base commander, who also lives in the naval base. He has been making full use of the bikes, and says he is a big fan of the scheme.
Cdre Rigby said: ‘I’m keen to promote cycling as a healthy, convenient, inexpensive form of transport for short trips around the base.
‘I have already made good use of the bikes and am saving on shoe leather already.’
He added: ‘The bikes operate just like a supermarket trolley, you put a pound coin in and take it away and then drop it off at work locations around the base.
‘The aim is that people can then come in via public transport. As it’s such a large base, they will be able to come in by bus or car share, then take a bike to get around the base.’
The scheme operates from three docking stations located at Victory Building (Naval Base Headquarters), Lion Gate and at HMS Nelson Personnel Centre.
The plan is to expand the scheme to 30 bikes in the summer, broadening access with additional docking stations at Trafalger Gate and close to the Princess Royal Jetty.
The project lead was Warrant Officer Baz Sloan, who worked closely with Charlie Adie from the cycle hub at HMS Nelson. They were supported by BAE Systems.
The cycle hub at HMS Nelson is operated by Motiv8. It will manage the scheme with the assistance of tracking devices fitted to each bike.
The bikes, a fleet of new step-through bikes with enclosed chain cases, dynamo lights and hub gears, were bought with cash from the Rebalancing Lives (RBL) fund, supplemented with grants from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the RN Sports Lottery.
The bikes are part of a wider drive at the base to reduce its carbon footprint and become more efficient.
Earlier this month it launched a fleet of 48 electric vans. It has also put in solar panels, LED lighting and other energy-saving schemes.