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Also includes free cycle training and bike maintenance sessions

Reading Borough Council is hoping to encourage people to ditch their cars for all or some of their journeys via a new scheme that will offer rewards for cycling. BikeSmart Reading will see participants earn free entry to a monthly prize draw for every cycle journey they make of one mile or more.

Get Reading reports that anyone living or working in Reading can take part. All you have to do is log your rides on the BetterPoints app.

As every journey gives the rider another entry into the prize draw, the more frequently a person cycles, the greater the odds of winning. Everyone using the app also earns BetterPoints as they go along, which can either be spent on vouchers for a number of high street stores or donated to charity.

Additional points can be earned by attending free sessions focused on basic cycling skills, how to cycle on the road or bike maintenance.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading’s lead member for strategic environment, planning and transport, said: “BikeSmart Reading is an excellent initiative for encouraging people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes.

“The scheme offers some great incentives for cycling plus there is the added bonus of avoiding driving on busy town centre roads and finding parking.”

Participants will be entered for a monthly prize of 25,000 BetterPoints, while every journey made before May 31 will be an entry into a draw for a new Decathlon road bike worth £250 or a Decathlon gift card to the same value if the bike is not needed.

Funding for the scheme comes via Empower EU, a project aiming to increase cycling to help reduce traffic and air pollution in European towns and cities.

Empower EU is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon2020 programme.

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16 comments

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flathunt [239 posts] 2 months ago
7 likes

Hmm, I just see a bike in the crosshairs. Business as usual then.

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HarrogateSpa [462 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

Apps and training and maintenance courses...all nice extras, but without the fundamental of safe places to ride, they will make no difference.

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PaulBox [644 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

I don't know about reading, but I saw one twat doing the crossword on the M25 this morning...

 

(I know...)

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LastBoyScout [177 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

First I've heard of it - and I'm local to Reading!

Would like to know exactly what data they're holding on me before I sign up, though - I don't want thieves getting hold of the data and finding where I live, for example.

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crazy-legs [866 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes

Does anyone actually do this sort of thing? As a leisure/commuter type rider, I get on a bike, I want to go to work/to the shops. Simple.

Not log the bloody thing on yet another app, not enter a competition, not earn points for shops I'll never go in. I just want to ride somewhere, in normal clothes, not get killed while doing it and have somewhere safe to lock my bike up once I get there.

Build the safe segregated infrastructure and people will use it with no "incentive". You can see the proof from the relatively few miles of segregated lanes in London.

Worst case here is that no-one will use it for the simple reason that they can't be bothered with the app logging thing for a simple commute and/or they don't want or need the "incentives" and at the end of it, the council will say "oh well no-one cycles so we won't build any more cycle lanes or cycle parking..."

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BehindTheBikesheds [328 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

We already have infra in place, it's just not viable for many (from their POV) to use.

The only way to increase cycling in any real numbers and to the masses is to make motoring such a pain in the arse in towns and cities that people give up, it worked the other way around so sucessfully. Segregated cycle lanes that are meaningful, don't cost a bomb and get you to wherever you want directly without more stops than the current infra in every town and city simply is not going to happen, not ever, that is a simple fact.

We are going about this the wrong way but it's a way that government and certain bike orgnisations/people on bikes want to go because the latter feel it's the only solution and the former just want to do the minimum possible (which generally means feck all) which panders to those doing the harm and don't want to see/accept the only true solution that would resolve many many problems.

 

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ChrisB200SX [359 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

We already have infra in place, it's just not viable for many (from their POV) to use.

I see it from a similar perspective, we already have cycling infrastructure.

If anything, we need segregated infrastructure for motorised vehicles so they can't harm vulnerable road users.
Infrastructure/facilities is the ultimate incentive, all other gimmicks are a bit pointless and a waste of time/effort/money without the basics being in place.
Many town centres have been pedestrianised to exclude cars, the logical next step is to broaden that outwards from the town centre.

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burtthebike [807 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

They might like to re-think their marketing strategy.  Offering cycling goodies is only likely to encourage the people who already ride and won't appeal to those who don't.

Doomed?  Possibly, but at least they are trying.  Should have got a bit more advice about how to market though.

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brooksby [2235 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
crazy-legs wrote:

Does anyone actually do this sort of thing? As a leisure/commuter type rider, I get on a bike, I want to go to work/to the shops. Simple.

Not log the bloody thing on yet another app, not enter a competition, not earn points for shops I'll never go in. I just want to ride somewhere, in normal clothes, not get killed while doing it and have somewhere safe to lock my bike up once I get there.

But isn't that just like loyalty card schemes: by getting people to log their journeys, the council doesn't need to bother with "proper" surveys, they can just mine the information voluntarily supplied (what? you though loyalty card schemes were for the customer's benefit?? )

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the little onion [157 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

This sort of rubbish really annoys me. There is ample evidence (from proper peer reviewed scientific studies) that publicity campaigns don't get people on bikes, but that proper, high quality, joined-up cycle routes, segregated from motor traffic, do. 

 

It isn't about actually getting people on bikes, otherwise they would build infrastructure. It is about allowing the council to claim it is promoting cycling, but without the hassle and political effort of actually building infrastructure.

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brooksby [2235 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
the little onion wrote:

It isn't about actually getting people on bikes, otherwise they would build infrastructure. It is about allowing the council to claim it is promoting cycling, but without the hassle and political effort of actually building infrastructure.

This.  Welcome to the wonderful world of "aims" and "proposals" and "overall intentions".

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LastBoyScout [177 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
ChrisB200SX wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

We already have infra in place, it's just not viable for many (from their POV) to use.

I see it from a similar perspective, we already have cycling infrastructure.

If anything, we need segregated infrastructure for motorised vehicles so they can't harm vulnerable road users.
Infrastructure/facilities is the ultimate incentive, all other gimmicks are a bit pointless and a waste of time/effort/money without the basics being in place.
Many town centres have been pedestrianised to exclude cars, the logical next step is to broaden that outwards from the town centre.

Yes, we need infrastructure and facilities (like showers in offices), but (apart from a bit of short-term pain to install it), you can't go round pissing off the majority user group, or it backfires in attitudes towards the minority group. Stopping someone driving their car around a town centre isn't going to make them think "I know, I'll buy a bike", let alone go out and do it.

What we do need is intelligently designed infrastructure. For example, a few years ago my local council installed a shared-use path along a busy road. I've used it precisely once, out of interest, and decided I'd rather cycle on the road than have to dodge round all the runners, other cyclists and dog walkers and stop to cross every junction.

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wellsprop [185 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Or just build decent cycling infrastructure.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1582 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

The only way to increase cycling in any real numbers and to the masses is to make motoring such a pain in the arse in towns and cities that people give up, it worked the other way around so sucessfully.

I just don't see how that could work. People won't give it up, they'll just carry on driving while complaining about what a pain it is ("my 2-mile school run takes 2 hours!"), and will kick out any politician that doesn't pledge to provide unlimited space for driving.

They already tend to alternate between complaining about the lack of free parking and then complaining about the car parking they just asked for getting in the way of their driving. They demand parking periods be extended, then complain they can't find a free space because of all the other motorists staying longer in the spaces.

Addiction is a powerful thing.

You have to improve alternative methods of travel simultaneously with very slowly ceasing to pander to drivers. Carrot and stick have to travel in lock-step.

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antigee [391 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

can I just be positive about free "cycle training" ? ....does  depends a bit on what it actually is...years ago Sheffield City Council ran a scheme with the trainer riding your planned commute with you...fantastic... more people riding with existing infrastructure and hopefully being taught some of the skills sadly essential to staying alive and dealing with motorised intimidation... safety in numbers - need more cyclists on the roads - not opposed to separated facilities but its not going to happen quickly and only where it is convenenient to do 

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WolfieSmith [1380 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I see bloody motorists 'reading' all the time!! Mainly texts on their phones..!! 

 

Oh. Sorry. That was Reading... Just force of habit on this site.