The Beryl Bikes scheme was launched in March, just before coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced.
With shops due to reopen next Monday, albeit with social-distancing restrictions in place, bosses at Beryl Bikes and Norfolk County Council have launched a scheme to make cycling an attractive option for people getting out and about.
In partnership with the council’s ‘Pushing Ahead’ programme, the first 1,000 users to redeem the local #BetterByBike promotion will get 200 free riding minutes to use across the city.
The offer of free minutes is live from today, which Beryl Bikes bosses say will mean people can visit Norwich’s reopening high streets in a socially distant, environmentally friendly and convenient way.
To access the promotion, people must download the free Beryl App and follow the in-app messages.
Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure and chair of the Transforming Cities joint committee said: “We’ve seen a rapid increase in cycling in recent years, particularly since the lockdown began and we are delighted to see the Beryl Bikes on the streets of Norwich.
“With government restrictions now easing and more bike bay locations on the way, we hope more people will get out and give them a try, benefiting both the environment and the economy.”
Philip Ellis, Beryl chief executive, said: “We are thrilled at the high level of support and enthusiasm shown by Norfolk County Council to help lower the barrier to cycling for many.
“Sixty-eight per cent of car journeys in the UK are under five miles. A quarter are under one mile. Cycling isn’t the option for all trips – but by making the switch for short journeys, people can free up valuable space on public transport, reduce congestion on our roads and make streets safer.
“Importantly this is just the first step of many to encourage a shift towards active travel in Norwich and beyond.”
The bikes can be picked up and dropped off in marked Beryl Bays.
Those using Beryl Bikes are encouraged to wash their hands immediately before and after use, stay two metres away from others whilst cycling and not to ride in groups.