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Cycling UK launch Shift project to get more Scots on their bikes

Written by Fiona

June 03 2021

Launched during Bike Week, a Cycling UK project called Shift aims to help 20,000 Scots to get on their bikes for short everyday journeys.

Community groups and organisations are being encouraged to apply for support through the Shift programme.

The aims of Shift are to encourage people to jump on a bike instead of into their car – and to help people on low incomes with few transport options. The Scottish Government is providing £390,000 to support Shift.

Key points of Shift:

  • Scotland-wide project from Shetland to Borders
  • In Scotland, half of all journeys between 1-2 km are made by car
  • Cycling journeys are up 47% in Scotland in 12 months since first lockdown.

You ca also read about the best cycle to work schemes around the world.

Shift into Bike Week

Bike Week, from May 30 to June 5, sees the launch of Shift to provide funding and expert support to organisations so that they can deliver cycling activities that will help people get on a bike, instead of into their car.

Scotland has seen a surge in cycling during the Covid pandemic, with cycling journeys up 47% in the 12 months following the start of the first lockdown in March 2020. Cycling UK wants to see this trend continue beyond the pandemic and make cycling a natural choice for shorter journeys.

The most recent data shows that 34% of journeys under 1km in Scotland are made by car, which rises to more than 50% when the journey is between 1km and 2km.

Shift will aim to equip more Scots with the choice of cycling for these short journeys and reach people on low incomes who have limited transport options. It will operate across Scotland from Shetland to the Borders.

Cycling UK in the community

The programme builds on Cycling UK’s community work, such as the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme which saw more than 25,000 bikes repaired during the pandemic.

Funded by Transport Scotland, the charity project will provide grants of between £400 and £800 and a host of expert support to at least 100 organisations who want to help people in their community discover the benefits of cycling.

From cycle training and confidence boosting sessions to cargo bike trials for local businesses, Shift will deliver a wide range of activities to get communities pedalling for everyday journeys.

A network of development officers based in communities across Scotland will be on hand with expert support and advice, networking opportunities and access to training. The project aims to reach 20,000 people over the next 12 months.

Grants are open to any organisation that can meet the aims of the project including charities, community groups, higher education establishments and businesses.

Scottish Government Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “I’m pleased we’re providing £390,000 to support the Shift programme by Cycling UK. This high impact grant fund will provide at least 100 organisations across Scotland with grants, coupled with expert guidance to encourage cycling for everyday journeys.

“The benefits of walking, wheeling and cycling are clear – both for individuals and for the environment. Cycling rates have never been higher and we need to keep up this positive momentum for our wellbeing and for our climate.

“If you’re an organisation hoping to get communities cycling – get in touch and find out how the Shift programme can help support your plans for active and more sustainable travel.”

Gabriella Farquhar, Shift programme manager for Cycling UK said: “I’d encourage any organisation that wants to help more people to ride bikes for short everyday journeys to apply for a grant and get involved in this exciting project.”

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