Staff at Rushden Lakes have been offered free four week trials of e-bikes throughout June as part of a North Northamptonshire Council initiative to enable more locals to have a go at cycling to work.
Twenty e-bikes are available to borrow by staff working at any of the Rushden Lakes stores, restaurants and other organisations based here. Although intended for journeys to work, staff signing up for the scheme can also use the e-bikes in their leisure time too.
The scheme is part of a wider initiative across North and West Northamptonshire by the two local authorities in collaboration with local workplaces to enable staff to try out electric cycles. Previous organisations which have successfully trialled the scheme include the University of Northampton, Kettering General Hospital, Ball Corporation and Delapre Abbey.
Staff were able to choose an e-bike to suit their size and needs. This included a small supply of foldable options so it can be stored safely in a flat or building with no cycle storage.
Since 2019 we have reduced the number of staff travelling by car alone to work by nearly 18%. Other initiatives we have completed include annual ‘Let’s Go Green’ one-day events with free drinks for those who come by non-car modes, free cycle repairs and promotion of coach trips to the area. We were recently awarded the Modeshift STARS Silver accreditation for our green travel plan and activities which are supported by Brightwayz, a local social enterprise specialising in sustainable travel schemes.
Cllr Graham Lawman, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive Member for Highways, Travel and Assets, said: “This is a really exciting way for staff at Rushden Lakes to trial an e-bike at no cost to them and enable them to commute when other forms of public transport are not convenient. We hope that this this latest trial will enable staff to gain more confidence to shift to active travel and enjoy the health benefits, whilst also reducing the pressure on staff parking at Rushden Lakes.”
Cllr Harriet Pentland, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive Member for Climate and Environment, said: “Reducing carbon emissions is one of the key priorities for the council as we strive to be carbon neutral, which is why it is pleasing to see local businesses to encouraging workers to try a more low-carbon form of transport.”
Although the loan is for a four week period for each rider, it is hoped it will inspire staff to try cycling to work as a longer term habit and potentially purchase their own e-bike. Not only will this help reduce traffic congestion, wear and tear on the roads and carbon emissions but will also have health and mental well-being benefits for staff.