New 'try-before-you-buy' e-cargo bike scheme planned for Peterborough residents and businesses

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The bikes would be available for a one to two-week trial for residents considering buying one of their own

Peterborough residents and businesses could be given short-term access to electric cargo bikes as part of a try-before-you-buy scheme aimed at encouraging active travel.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), responsible for transport in the region, has submitted a £77k bid to EU-backed funding body Climate-KIC to support the scheme, with a response expected imminently.

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If approved, the scheme will run from April this year until July 2025 and allow Peterborough residents to book one of the four available family e-cargo bikes for a one to two week trial. One bike would also be available for short-term business hire.

E-Cargo bikes come in various styles and sizes - holding either children or heavy objectsE-Cargo bikes come in various styles and sizes - holding either children or heavy objects
E-Cargo bikes come in various styles and sizes - holding either children or heavy objects
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The scheme’s aim is to help participants decide whether purchasing an e-cargo bike is right for them: there are “many styles of cargo bike on the market” and it’s a “big financial commitment”, the CPCA says, but a trial can “help overcome these barriers”.

Running the scheme also helps the authority collect data about active travel habits in the city as each bike will be fitted with a GPS tracker and participants will be asked to take part in questionnaires about their intended and actual usage of the bikes before and after their trial.

A similar scheme in Cambridgeshire was introduced in 2021 which the CPCA says has resulted in over 160 trials taking place.

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Roughly two thirds of participants reported their intention to buy an e-cargo bike afterwards, it adds.

That scheme, run by Outspoken! Cycles on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) sees residents able to trial a bike for one week for £15 or two weeks for £25. Businesses can trial them for £30 for four weeks or £50 for eight weeks.

Participants are also asked to put down a refundable £250 deposit and show photo ID when collecting their bikes.

E-cargo bikes, which are any kind of bike which are powered by electricity and have capacity for carrying either large objects or children, come in a vast range of sizes and styles, reflected in varying prices.

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At Outspoken! Cycles, the bikes range from £1,800 to £12,000.

CPCA says it will start the process of choosing an operator to run the scheme in Peterborough in mid-January if its funding bid is successful.

The money will also cover the continuation and expansion of the scheme in Cambridgeshire, with the CCC trial scheduled to end this year.

Participants will be given training before using their bike.

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