COMMENT: Hire scheme is great way to get people in the saddle
Is there a city that’s more suitable than Portsmouth when it comes to cycling? We don’t think so. Let’s look at the many reasons why.
First of all, it' s flat, very flat. That makes getting around on two wheels extremely easy. No nasty hills to climb up to put people off getting in the saddle.
Then there’ s the network of cycleways that mean it's possible to get around Portsea Island while admiring the coastal views or inland attractions.
Thirdly, there’s the knowledge that by cycling you’ re doing your bit to tackle pollution and cut down on those traffic queues in a densely-populated city where congestion has become a big issue.
Finally, there are the health benefits of going for a ride. With obesity levels on the rise and concerns over people leading increasingly sedentary lives, cycling is a great way to get fit while travelling from A to B.
Anything that encourages the wider use of bikes in our city has to be welcomed. So we’re delighted to report today that a refurbished church building could be used as a base for a social enterprise called Bicycle Recycling.
A workshop has already been created at St Margaret’ s Community Church in Eastney, offering young people the chance to learn about bike maintenance.
Now the plan is for 150 ‘Boris bikes’ to be available to loan across the city. People would pick one up, make their journey and then leave it at another drop-off point.
Bicycle Recycling already renovates donated bikes and sells them in its shops in Portsmouth and Gosport, or sends them to Africa. But the loan scheme would be a new partnership including Portsmouth City Council, the church and the bike rental firm NextBike.
We think it’s a great way to combine social enterprise with encouraging both residents and visitors to get out of their cars and choose convenient pedal power instead.