U-Cycle is a scheme, created by Sustrans, which was launched in September 2010. It’s aim was simply to promote cycling within the university community. And judging by the amount of white and green bikes you see when walking around Nottingham city centre, they have done a great job. Whilst walking from my sixth form (which is right next to the university), to the city centre on Friday, I counted how many U-Cycle’s I saw locked up/ridden. In the 1/2 mile walk, I saw 11 U-cycles.
The cost of hiring the bike for the whole of the university year is unbelievably low. (£35-£50). So it’s no wonder that the up-take has been so high. The bikes aren’t shoddy either. They seem pretty much bomb-proof, and come with all the accessories which you would need to commute with (Lights, mudguards, lock and a rack). I had the chance to ride one of my mates bikes for a little test ride around one of the university campus’s, and I wouldn’t have any problems with riding one the few miles into the city centre to get to a lecture.
When you do hire a U-Cycle, you receive free RideWise cycling training and the ability to go to bike workshops. The scheme also lead rides to get people cycling for recreation, not just commuting.
£3,000,000, over 2 years, was invested into promoting cycling and other sustainable transport according to press reports. You can definitely see improvements in some areas. For example, there are bike stands everywhere you go now. The bike shed at Nottingham Trent Uni is packed, and when I peaked through the bars last week, I couldn’t see a spare stand. When I went to the QMC on Wednesday night (at around 9pm), the bike stands were atleast half full.
Hopefully the popularity of cycling keeps increasing with the help of schemes like these, and we will get better cycling facilities around Nottingham.