Free Brompton bike hire scheme in Merton helps improve residents’ wellbeing

Following the launch earlier in the year of CYCLE 42, a pop-up cycle hub created by a partnership between Brompton Bike Hire, Clarion Housing Group and Hadley Property Group (Hadley), Merton residents are registering their interest for the third round of the scheme.

Located on the development site owned by Hadley at 42 Station Road in Colliers Wood, CYCLE 42 offers Merton residents the chance to hire a Brompton folding bicycle for 90 days for free, to help improve mental and physical health and promote sustainable travel in the borough.

Inspired by Brompton’s Wheels For Heroes campaign, started in April 2020 to provide free cycle hire for NHS workers, the CYCLE 42 scheme is open to all Merton residents who do not currently cycle or have a bike and aims to break down the barriers into cycling by giving people the chance to try it out for free.

One of those who has already benefitted is Simon, a Clarion resident, who said: “When I got my bike I set off along the River Wandle, through Ravensbury Park and Morden Hall Park, down to Merton Abbey Mills – a good five miles there and back. It had been three years since I even sat on a bike and 40 years since I rode any distance, but after that first ride I felt physically better than I have felt for ages, as well as feeling brighter and more optimistic.

“I've lived in Mitcham for nearly 20 years, but now I'm experiencing my local area, and my day, in a whole new way on a bike.”

Feedback from Merton residents who took part in the first round of the scheme was overwhelmingly positive, with 97% of respondents saying that they intended to continue to cycle after the programme ended. 90% of those surveyed attested to improved physical and mental health and 100% said that the scheme had improved their lifestyle and travel habits.

Michelle Reynolds, Chief Customer Officer at Clarion Housing Group, commented:
“We’re delighted to see how the first Merton residents have benefitted from the scheme, with feedback from many highlighting how much it’s improved their physical and mental health. Teaming up with like-minded partners such as Hadley Property Group and Brompton Bike Hire we can make a real difference in our communities and we look forward to working together to see where else we can roll out this model and reach more people.”

Matt Griffiths-Rimmer, Director of Communications and Partnerships at Hadley Property Group, said:
“We’re thrilled to see that the first two rounds of CYCLE42 made a real difference to the lives of so many people in Merton during lockdown, and hopefully for years to come. Hadley is committed to the inclusion of zero-carbon and active travel initiatives across all of our developments, and the continuing work of CYCLE42 will ensure that it’s not just future residents who are impacted positively – it’s the existing community, those who we call our neighbours. This partnership has enabled us to get more and more people in Merton travelling sustainably, and has transformed a formerly disused site into a thriving hub of activity.”

Julian Scriven, Managing Director, Brompton Bike Hire, said:
“We have been delighted by the positive response of the local Merton residents. Whilst we have collaborated on a number of initiatives like this, we have been blown away by the positive feedback. The early results are already amazing with the vast majority of participants stating that they will continue to cycle beyond the end of the programme and reporting a positive impact on their physical and mental wellbeing. We believe the project being trialled in Merton with our partners could become the gold standard for delivering cycling into communities. I really hope the next group enjoy the bikes as much as the last cohort.”

Applications for the third round, which close on 22 October, will be assessed using a set of needs-based criteria and those not allocated a bike will be added to a waiting list for the fourth and final round and will be contacted when a bike becomes available.

Thanks to Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, each participant will receive a helmet and high-vis vest, as well as an information pack covering cycle safety and FAQs.

After the 90-day free hire period, the Brompton bicycles will be collected and redistributed to the next 50 Merton residents on the waiting list. The scheme at CYCLE 42 will run for 12 months, with the aim of enabling around 200 local residents to benefit.

Following the success of the scheme, Clarion Housing Group, Hadley Property Group and Brompton Bike Hire are looking to replicate it elsewhere, offering more communities the chance to benefit.

To find out more and to register interest, visit the CYCLE42 website