Bike libraries ‘boosting people’s access to cycles’

11.16 | 9 July 2024 |

Community groups and other not-for-profit organisations in Greater Manchester can now apply for funding to set up their own bike library.

There are already 37 bike libraries up and running across the region, enabling people of all ages to borrow a bike for free.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has secured funding to support six more libraries, with up to £5,000 available for each successful applicant. Community hubs, schools and charities are just some of the local organisations to have benefited from opening a bike library so far.

The aim of each scheme is to boost people’s access cycles, build their confidence on a bike and explore the cycling routes available on their doorstep.

One of the schemes already having an impact is The Grass Roots Oldham Women’s Enterprise (GROWE) community bike library in Failsworth. The library opened in March 2023 and now has 10 bikes that residents can use for free. They also offer cycle training sessions and rides led by more experienced cyclists.

Marina Waters, GROWE community bike library manager, said: “At the GROWE hub in Failsworth, we’re ideally placed to open a bike library and we were delighted to be awarded funding to set one up last year.

“We’re passionate about reducing the barriers to cycling and enabling more people to use a bike for free, whether it’s for leisure or for simply getting around.

“People can borrow one of our bikes for anything between a week or a month, giving them plenty of time to really build their confidence and explore the cycle routes around the GROWE hub.

“We’re located near to the Rochdale Canal meaning that people can access a traffic-free route either into Manchester city centre or towards Middleton and Rochdale.

“Our bike library has been a great success so far and our led rides especially have given people a sense of camaraderie and community when riding as a group.”

The TfGM grants are designed to support groups in setting up a new scheme or broadening their current provision, with a focus on a sustainable scheme model where bikes are donated, fixed up and utilised, giving pre-loved bikes a new purpose.



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