E-bikes power up Brighton on Saturday 9 March

People from Brighton and Hove are being invited to try out new electrically-assisted bikes in a bid to boost cycling in the UK.

The e-bikes, as they are known, are being tested at a free event in Preston Park, Brighton, next Saturday (9 March) and are part of a University of Brighton-led project to increase the number of people who travel by bike.

The project is led by Dr Frauke Behrendt, a researcher from the university’s Faculty of Arts, and is funded by a three-year grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The research team has been working with Brighton & Hove Council over the past year to trial the e-bikes across the city. The public event is co-funded by the LSTF (Local Sustainable Transport Fund).

E-bikes are fitted with rechargeable batteries which help when riders pedal against head-winds or up steep hills. They are very popular on the continent but have yet to become widely-used in the UK. The project partners hope that by pioneering their use in the UK, they can create more interest in e-bikes and encourage a wider range of people to cycle.

At the event members of the public who have expressed an interest in trying the bikes will be able to put them through their paces. Access to specialist one-to-one cycle training for the e-bikes will also be provided. Travel advisers from the council will also be available to talk to people about their travel options in Brighton & Hove.

Anyone who would like to try the bikes or receive training must register in advance, as spaces are limited. To register please complete the online survey – https://www.smart-survey.co.uk/s/70852GGOXP or call 01273 642689.

The 35 bikes involved in the trial are made by project partner and manufacturer Raleigh UK. Local company Baker St Bikes is also supporting the project by providing e-bike maintenance and advice to the public, while M-Cycle is providing the e-cycle training.

Notes for editors:

1. Contact for a case study: Maria Robinson from M-Cycle,maria@M-CYCLEHIRE.CO.UK)
2. Interviewees from Brighton & Hove City Council (Abby Hone, abby.hone@brighton-hove.gov.uk, University of Brighton (Frauke Behrendt, f.behrendt@brighton.ac.uk), Baker St Bikes (Chris Balchin, 01273 675754), and cycle trainer Maria Robinson from M-Cycle maria@M-CYCLEHIRE.CO.UK available on request
3.  There will be photo opportunities on 9 March with members of public testing the e-bikes and receiving specialist tuition. Please contact kathy.caton@googlemail.com for further details if you wish to attend to photograph/report on the event.
4. A three-year grant from the EPSRC has enabled Dr Behrendt, and colleagues Dr Sally Cairns from TRL (Transport Research Laboratory ) and UCL (University College London), and David Raffo, from University of Ulster, to set up the ‘smart e-bikes’ project. The project developed out of an event which focused on encouraging more sustainable travel behaviour, habits and practices.