Welsh government funding is to be made available to fund pilot schemes to accelerate the uptake of electric bikes and electric cargo bikes.

The pilots will see four e-bike hubs established in Rhyl, Swansea, Aberystwyth (with links to Newtown) and Barry. They will offer low cost hire and long-term loan of e-bikes for local residents.

Two e-cargo bike ‘libraries’ will be established in Aberystwyth and Swansea, offering free trials of e-cargo bikes as well as advice and training for local businesses and residents.

It is envisioned the schemes, which will run across two years, will be open to the public and businesses in the summer.

“We want to give people more options of how to get around, and in particular we want to make greener forms of transport more convenient and accessible,” said Welsh Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters. “Sustainable travel requires a culture change and the pilots are another step towards delivering our goal.

“There is a strong link between e-bikes and active travel as more people get used to being on bikes. There are also specific benefits in rural communities where longer distances are more common, with e-bikes making cycling viable for more people.”

“These pilots will be used to gather evidence and inform policy, with a view to a wider rollout in the future.”

Sustrans Cymru will work with local social enterprises to deliver the pilots. They will engage with participants and use monitors fitted to e-bikes and e-cargo bikes to develop an evidence base.

“Sustrans Cymru are thrilled to be delivering this pilot project in five locations across Wales,” added Sustrans Cymru director, Christine Boston. “E-Bikes and e-Cargo bikes have the potential to transform the way people think about active travel.

“By working directly with communities, we will gather valuable data from participant feedback including journey patterns, barriers and network development needs. This will in turn help inform Welsh Government of the potential e-bikes hold in decarbonising transport.”

“The project will empower people who would not usually cycle to try a sustainable way of travelling. It will also provide an alternative travel option to those who may not own a car.”