Free bicycles offered to school children in new initiative

Five-time UCI BMX and track cycling world champion Shanaze Reade appointed ambassador for pilot projects.

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Free bicycles are being offered to school pupils who are unable to afford them as part of a series of pilot projects.

The Scottish Government initiative involves six groups and will seek to incorporate local bike shops around the country, as well as testing delivery models in urban and rural locations.

It will last 12 months before being “fully evaluated” and more pilot announcements are set to follow.

Five-time UCI BMX and track cycling world champion Shanaze Reade is the first in a series of ambassadors helping to promote the projects ahead of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland.

The scheme was launched on Tuesday by transport minister Graeme Day, who visited St Paul’s Youth Forum in the north east of Glasgow.

He said: “I’m blown away by how community groups, active travel and cycling partners have responded to our 100-day commitment. With support and funding from the Scottish Government, I’m pleased they will shortly offer free bike pilots to school aged children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.

“We’ve still got a lot of ground to cover when thinking about how best we can assess need, build in accessibility for all and ensure supply and delivery models which are sustainable for urban, rural and island communities across Scotland.

The pilot projects involved in the initiative are as follows:

  • Equality Cycles with St Paul’s Youth Forum in North East Glasgow
  • Scottish Cycling’s Rock Up & Ride programme
  • Angus Cycle Hub
  • Barnardos in Forth Valley Gearing Up
  • Cycling Scotland’s Cycling Friendly network
  • Sustrans’ IBike with West Lothian, Dumfries and Galloway and Aberdeenshire Councils

Shanaze Reade, ambassador for children and young people for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships said: “For me having access to a bike can open up so many possibilities and I’m delighted to see these pilot projects being rolled out, particularly in hard to reach communities.

“Growing up I had to overcome barriers to accessing a bike and I was lucky enough to be given one to race on, allowing me to experience all the benefits and freedom riding a bike can give.”

“The 2023 Cycling Worlds will be a great opportunity to inspire the next generation of world champions, but this will only work if all kids have a bike to ride.

“By shifting our way of thinking and providing kids with the chance to get on a bike, we can encourage them to take up the cycling as a sport, particularly with the spotlight on BMX after an incredible Tokyo Olympics.”