A new fleet of electric bikes are now available to help visitors get out and explore the beautiful landscape of the Northumberland coast without having to use their cars. The bikes make cycling easier, giving cyclists a boost from a motor when they need it.
Michael Curry from the Adventure Northumberland Bike Shop in Alnwick, where bikes can be hired, explained the benefit of electric bikes saying “The bikes are really comfortable to ride, with soft saddles and a step-through option. Whenever you pedal you get a boost from the lightweight motor built into the front wheel of the bike, this takes the strain out of hills or cycling into a head-wind. All of the bikes have pannier racks and panniers can also be hired”.
Funding to buy the electric bikes came from ‘Northern Lands’ - a programme of projects designed to develop the tourism product of the North East’s protected landscapes so that they attract more visitors, encourage existing visitors to stay longer and inspire visitors to spend more in rural businesses and communities. The programme’s purpose is to support rural communities by developing the rural visitor economy and help protect the landscapes by promoting greater understanding of their special qualities. The programme is supported from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) through Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was one of the protected landscapes included within the programme. Iain Robson from the AONB Partnership said “Encouraging visitors to use their cars less during their stay, by having more car-free days, is one of our tourism priorities. Alongside traditional cycling, walking and traveling by bus, using electric bikes is another way visitors can travel about the coast without using their car.”