Sustainability

Bike Week - Cycling Through a Pandemic

Staff and students can hire and maintain bikes with the help of the Sustainability Service. This is how our service has operated over the last year.

Leeds Beckett Bike Hire

It has been an interesting year to be promoting cycling at Leeds Beckett. For much of the last year large numbers of our staff have been working from home and many students have not been regularly attending campus for lectures. When the lockdowns started last March I assumed no-one would be hiring our bikes or riding their own bikes to work, ultimately I was wrong, but before that we shut down our BikeFix  and BikeHub workshops for hires, maintenance paused, the wheels stopped turning.

As soon as we could safely get back on site, we broadened our bike hire offer to include staff as well as students and lots of staff took up the offer to hire a bike, many of them to get some exercise whilst they were otherwise confined at home.

As the lockdowns eased over the summer we re-opened the workshops for socially distanced appointments and hires. In September students returned to their residences in increasing numbers and bike hires where soon back to pre-pandemic levels. I suspect because riding round on a bike became attractive as public transport was actively discouraged. Couple this with the fact that if you were trying to buy a bike, finding one became really difficult as Britain took advantage of roads that were as free of cars as they had been in decades and took to two wheels.

The pandemic became a driver for improved and accelerated investment in cycle Infrastructure as the government released money for emergency cycling and walking provision to encourage people to take alternatives to public transport. In Leeds temporary segregated cycle lanes were put in place on the A660 between our campuses as well as on other main routes. Hyde Park had planters installed to make it a low traffic neighbourhood, making it a better place for walking and cycling. The planned works to pedestrianise more of Leeds city centre and improve provision for cyclists were accelerated. Much of this work will be opening soon, it will be a different city centre based more around people than cars. 

Whatever the new normal looks like over the next year for our work and study, If you are a member of Beckett staff or a student and you want to hire a bike, which at £50 for the academic year remains in my view one of the world’s great travel bargains. Maybe you want to get your own shed bound bike back on the road. If you need to store a bike securely on campus or perhaps you want more information about the staff cycle to work scheme or simply want a chat about the best way to get about Leeds on two wheels. If any of these apply to you, we can help get in touch.

Email transport@leedsbeckett.ac.uk  someone from the sustainability team will be able to help or have a look at https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/studenthub/cycling/

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