Transport body aim to increase pedalling numbers.
A Centro promotion campaign in the Black Country aims to get many more people sold on cycling by the spring.
Since 2013, Centro’s sustainable travel team has attracted more than 4000 novice and returning cyclists onto free training and bike maintenance courses, delivered by cycle training company BikeRight. The ambitious plan now is to further boost new course bookings in the Black Country by the end of March to encourage more people back into cycling, to cycle more often and have the confidence to tackle new routes.
It is part of the Smart Network, Smarter Choices sustainable travel programme, run by Centro, the delivery arm of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority. The programme has already promoted cycling in the Black Country through the Bostin Bikes scheme. This gave people the chance to try out new bikes for free, with the option of buying them at a big discount after training.
Councillor Judith Rowley, Chair of the Smart Networks, Smarter Choices Board and lead for fair and safe transport on the West Midlands Transport Delivery Committee, said: “We’ve had a great response with cycling in this area and we want to follow up on that. As well as the health benefits for people, there are real rewards in cutting traffic congestion and carbon emissions. The cycling promotion campaign also complements the Black Country in Motion project and Wolverhampton Active Travel Strategy.”
Centro’s team has carefully researched and targeted specific groups via digital advertising – and there’s been a huge response already.
Marketing executive Sophie Lewis commented: “We want to encourage people to take up the free cycle training and maintenance courses to achieve their personal goals – it could be to get fitter, keep up with the kids or just build their confidence. We’ve found for example that some people, especially older men, start good habits over summer but then forget them in winter. And the findings also suggest women between 30 and 50, in particular moms, can sometimes feel a bit lost and want to get involved in something where they can meet new friends.
“We’d really like to hear from people about why they would do this – or what would stop them. All the feedback helps to steer future plans.”
Spaces are still available, for over-16s, and people can find out more and book at www.mynetwork.org.uk/blackcountry and there will be flyers through doors during February.