Pensioners told to 'get on their bikes' and exercise more

Pedal assist electric e-Bikes have been added to Norwich rental scheme to encourage longer journeys.

Pedal assist electric bikes are being recommended for use by pensioners to aid fitness. - Credit: Archant library

Bicycle firm Pure Electric, which has a store in Norwich, has called for the government to subsidise cycling equipment for the over 65s.

The company said that a 20pc discount on bikes for pensioners and an up-front loan for the remaining 80pc would help some of those classed as "inactive."

Pure Electric, which has a store in Norwich's Castle Quarter, estimates that around one million pensioners would take part in the scheme over four years.

They would apply for a voucher for the full cost of the bicycle equipment up front, and the government would recoup four fifths of the cost by deducting the money from their state pension.

The scheme would cost around £1 billion up front, but with £800 million recouped over the years.

Peter Kimberley, Pure Electric chief executive, said: "The pandemic has highlighted the benefits of regular exercise and cleaner air. We understand the Treasury is under considerable pressure, but this money might make the difference between the elderly deciding to stay in or taking up a new activity."

It would mirror a similar scheme that has run for the last 20 years which encourages employers to help their staff buy bikes.

"Cycle to Work has been so successful over the past two decades, and now's the perfect time, particularly given the new lockdown, to build on that by targeting the 12 million over 65s who aren't in work and can't qualify for it," Mr Kimberley said.
"It doesn't seem fair that working age people have been able to access government support to enjoy the benefits of cycling but retired people can't.
"We'd love to see other bike retailers, sporting bodies, charities and MPs join with us and back this idea."

Pure Electric is currently allowed to stay open in accordance with government guidelines as an 'essential' retailer. It can offer bike repairs and click and collect services.

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The store was one of 11 nationwide to be reopened after Cycle Republic, owned by Halfords, was closed down last April.

Pure Electric took it over, saving 85 jobs out of the 226 at risk.

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