New smart bikes for Brighton and Hove were unveiled at Brighton Housing Trust's (BHT) Around the World Cycle Challenge on Sunday (June 25).
The 450 bikes will be available to rent via an app from early September, as part of the £1.45 million shared bicycle scheme. Bikes can be located on the app and picked up, and locked up, anywhere in the city or from 50 docking stations being installed during the summer.
The rental cost will be £1.80 an hour - or £72 a year (which includes one hour use per day).
At the launch, Life Natural Spring Water, an ethical bottled water brand, was announced as the scheme’s headline sponsor for the next three years.
City councillors including transport lead Gill Mitchell, and Green MP Caroline Lucas, tested the city’s first bike at the Preston Park Velodrome track as part of the fundraising event for BHT.
A limited number of bike rides were also available to the public in aid of BHT’s First Base Day Centre for the homeless.
Riders taking part in the Around the World Cycle Challenge collectively pedalled over 3,343 miles, the equivalent distance from Brighton to Semey, a city in East Kazakhstan. In total, the event has raised more than £13,000, with collections still open.
Cllr Gill Mitchell said: “We’re delighted the city’s new share bike has now been put through its paces whilst raising funds for BHT’s First Base drop in centre. The bike got a great reaction from the many people who had a ride and we’re very much looking forward to the bikes being on the streets and available to hire from September.”
Tim Caswell, owner of Hourbike, the company providing and operating the scheme, said: “I’m delighted to announce our partnership with Life Natural Spring Water. Our joint intentions are to deliver improved health and vitality through increased cycling and better hydration, as well as a sustainable, environmentally positive transport network for Brighton and Hove. Exciting times ahead!"
Simon Konecki, Life Natural Spring Water founder, added: “We’re thrilled about this partnership – what we strive to achieve at Life is perfectly aligned with the scheme and our shared aims of sustainability and healthy living. This is a first for Life Natural Spring Water and together with Brighton Bike Share, we aim to create an easy to use, environmentally friendly new travel option for those living in and visiting Brighton.”
Andy Winter, BHT director, added: “The support from the Brighton Bike Share team at our first ever Around the World Cycle Challenge was incredible and the money raised will make a difference to the lives of many homeless people in our city. It was with the support of the community and fundraising efforts like this that last year we were able to help 306 people to move off the streets.”