Roger Pierce from the Outdoor Partnership approached the Conwy Cynhaliol team with the idea of purchasing some Electric Pedal Mountain Bikes.
The scheme came about when rural Heritage and Culture project office Ela Fon Williams called out for projects to tackle isolation in the rural area.
Ela Fon Williams said, “We were looking for something different and innovative that would make a real difference in rural Conwy to reduce isolation and deprivation within communities”.
Following extensive research with local GP’s, physiotherapists, exercise referral practitioners, social workers and the local community, it was clear that there was a desire to run the e-bike sessions.
Roger said, “We want to trial the use of e-bikes to encourage people who might not be confident or feel comfortable in a gym environment to go out and enjoy the outdoors while taking part in something a bit more exiting/ adventurous than walking”.
“Cycling is an excellent exercise activity for many health conditions being low impact and providing an excellent cardio vascular workout as well as getting individuals outdoors and also a good social past time”.
E-Bikes are a relatively new development in the world of cycling. They have a small, concealed but powerful electric motor with a battery attached to the frame of the bike. Despite having a motor, they are not motor cycles. They are “pedal assist” meaning that the cyclist must pedal to a certain degree to activate the assistance from the motor.
The successful pilot scheme was ran for 4 months through the summer, June until September. Noreen, a resident in rural Conwy said, “I have had a fantastic summer attending the e-bike cycling sessions, before I joined the club I hadn’t ridden a bike for over 15 years. It’s really inspired me and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed attending the sessions, so much so that I have actually ordered an e-bike for myself and my husband so that we can continue to enjoy the outdoors and keep active”.
Another rural Conwy resident, Bethan from Dolwyddelan – I very rarely go on my bike at home, I’ve really enjoyed attending these sessions, meeting new people as well as working on my fitness.
The ultimate aim of the project is for small communities or user groups to form with the intention of continuing cycling. The Outdoor Partnership and Conwy County Borough Council would assist the formation of clubs who could then apply for grant funding or support from local companies or organisations to purchase E-bikes where necessary to enable continuation of the project.
This project was funded through the Rural Development LEADER programme for Conwy, Conwy Cynhaliol.
For more information on the Conwy Cynhaliol, and the Rural Development Programme – visit www.ruralconwy.org.uk or contact us on 01492 576673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.