The first electric bikes for Edinburgh’s cycle hire scheme, Just Eat Cycles, have arrived in the city.
An initial 30 e-bikes will be trialed at events and tested with local organisations and communities across the city in the coming months, before a fleet of 168 e-bikes are launched in spring 2020 for full public use.
The new e-bikes have a maximum supported speed of 15 mph and have a constant electric assist. This takes the effort out of cycling when users pedal the bikes to make tackling Edinburgh’s hills easier.
Once launched, the e-bikes will be located throughout the city’s existing hire points and unlocked via the same app.
Made in Britain by Pashley, the e-bikes are similar to Edinburgh’s existing pedal bikes but have a slightly different frame, a new colour scheme and the addition of a slim battery pack and motor designed exclusively by the German automotive manufacturer, Continental.
The e-bikes will be available for the public to test during a number of events over the next few months including the city’s monthly Open Streets event on Sunday 6 October.
The scheme run by Serco on behalf of Transport for Edinburgh launched in September 2018. There are currently 75 hire points around the city, and around 500 pedal bikes across the fleet using technology by Urban Sharing, the operators of cycle hire schemes in Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen.
Charles Graham of Serco is General Manager of Just Eat Cycles. He said: “It’s exciting to see the first e-bikes arrive in the city. In the spring the people of Edinburgh will have access to a fleet of e-bikes, which will provide an alternative mode of transport which is sustainable and cost effective. The e-bikes will help re-introduce cycling to harder to reach groups, including older users and those who may not have ridden a bike for many years.
“Edinburgh’s hills can be intimidating for some, but with a constant electrical boost, getting up some of Edinburgh’s steepest braes will be considerably easier using our e-bikes. There are clear patterns of use which show many people riding pedal bikes downhill to areas in Leith and the New Town. It is our hope that e-bikes will be the incentive for people to try the return leg of the journey by e-bike.”
George Lowder, Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh, said: “I’m delighted to see the first e-bikes arrive in the capital. This is an important step as we look to continue providing residents with a range of carbon friendly transport options to choose from. E-bikes are a fantastic example of how city-wide cycling can be made as accessible as possible. It’s our hope that the continued success of Edinburgh’s cycle hire scheme encourages more people to consider cycling as a low cost and convenient travel option.”
Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “I’m really looking forward to the introduction of e-bikes to Edinburgh’s cycle hire scheme, which will let even more people experience the Capital on bike. The cycle hire scheme has been an extremely welcome addition since its launch last year, offering a sustainable, healthy and enjoyable transport alternative for people living in or visiting the city. As an e-bike user myself I know how much easier they make navigating Edinburgh’s hilly terrain, so I’m pleased that this roll-out will help cyclists of all abilities benefit from the scheme.”