Visit to Norwich

A look at the bike loan scheme in Norwich and Great Yarmouth

Collette Kemp and Elaine Swallow traveled to Norwich to talk to Norfolk County Council, WSP and Bicycle Links about their existing bike loan scheme.

We met with Andy Hucheson from Environmental Planning at Norfolk County Council who was granted Interim Access Fund.  Part of this funding was to implement a bike loan scheme.

They employed Mouchel (now WSP) an engineering consultancy who were already working for NCC.

WSP did all the set up work for the scheme including sourcing an off the peg booking system, Checkfront.  The set up took approximately 3 months including the legal aspect, sourcing bikes and working very closely with the CIC (Bicycle Links in Norwich and Pedal Revolution in Great Yarmouth).

They did not set criteria for who could use the bike loan scheme but have found that it did reach the right demographic.  The majority of the users are adult women.

WSP promoted the scheme through NCC Communications & Media team, the Public Health team and Active Norfolk as well as social media.

A link on the NCC website took them through to the Checkfront booking system which sent the submitted booking form to the relevant CIC.  The CIC contacted the applicant by email and arrange the collection appointment.

The scheme worked well until the end of the Access funding when NCC decided to take it back in house to have better links with the CIC’s and the community.

Since this change the asset of the bikes have transferred from NCC to the CIC’s.

Andy also mentioned that the DfT are keen on authorities working together to share information and so would be happy to answer further questions.

Whilst at County Hall we also met with Charlotte Collins from WSP who was not closely involved in the project (Stuart Bethall who was behind the project was on holiday) but she confirmed that they have capacity to work with us and that Stuart would be happy to come and meet with us to discuss how he could help implement this scheme under SEAT.


We then met with Lucy Hall at the Norwich CIC, Bicycle Links which is run as a cycle hub.  It had a café, bike shop selling new and recycled bikes, a repair shop and a store for the loan bikes.

Once they receive the booking via Checkfront they send an appointment for the bike collection.  They allow 1 hour for the handover and familiarisation including safety tips.  Cycle training is offered and if wanted is outsourced to an accredited cycle instructor.  A legal agreement is signed by the person borrowing the bike and a £10 refundable commitment fee is taken.  Proof of id is also required such as driving licence, passport etc., they are also loaned a lock and helmet. Norfolk loan the bikes for a period of one month and at the end of this period the bike is returned and an exit survey is taken before the £10 deposit is refunded. 

They have a stock of 30 bikes, 20 womens and 10 mens in various sizes:

Womens: 17 19 21 23

Mens: 21 & 23

Each bike has a sticker on it with Bicycle Links phone number and an identification number.

Bicycle Links charge NCC approx. £20 per bike that is hired out for service and repairs.   This is not onerous time wise and not too labour intensive.

If the hirer wishes to buy the bike they have borrowed then Bicycle Links work out the appropriate cost.  The value of the bike decreases by £25 with each loan.  Start price of bike is £390.

For SEAT we are thinking of loaning the bike for 2 months – 66 days to change a habit.



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