The South East’s first Electric Bicycle Network has been launched in the South Downs, giving visitors the opportunity to hire and ride ebikes around the rural lanes and trails of the National Park.
The pilot scheme will start with a fleet of ten bikes based at the western end of the South Downs which are available to hire at Alice Holt Forest Centre, Petersfield, Alton and Easebourne. Riders can stop to recharge themselves while they charge up their ebikes at 13 local attractions, cafes and pubs – supporting local businesses and helping to reduce the impact of traffic in the National Park.
Nick Heasman, Western Area Manager for the South Downs National Park which has contributed start-up funding to the project, said:
“By hiring electric bicycles people can explore the South Downs’ quiet country lanes and help to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the National Park. This is also a terrific opportunity for local attractions, shops and cafes to become charge or hire points and work together to encourage visitors to enjoy the park more sustainably.
“The electric bicycles open new parts of the South Downs National Park up to the less agile, allowing more people to access the big hills and experience landscapes that were previously open to only the fittest cyclists.”
Steve Garidis, co-founder of the Electric Bicycle Network, said:
“We’re thrilled to launch the South Downs Electric Bicycle Network – our first in the South East – in partnership with the South Downs National Park and CPRE. This beautiful area has rightly become protected as a National Park, and now practically anyone can explore its scenic lanes and trails on two wheels, whatever their level of fitness and however hilly it is!”
Camilla Swiderska, Sustainable Transport Campaigner for CPRE Hampshire, said:
"Last year CPRE ran a trial in Medstead and Four Marks which proved that ebikes are easy and fun to ride and very popular with people of all ages. So we thought that a new pool of ebikes in the National Park would be great for eco-tourism and the wider countryside. I can’t wait to see them finally go into action.”
The full list of hire and charge points, as well as information on how to book bikes, are available from the Electric Bicycle Network. The local businesses will set prices for hire but it’s estimated that the ebikes will cost around £15 per person for a half day.
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