Chris Boardman, who left his role as head of research and development at British Cycling after London 2012, is to apply his legendary attention to detail to Liverpool’s new cycle hire scheme, dubbed ‘Scou-cycles.’ With eventual plans for 1,000 bikes, it will be Britain’s largest such initiative outside London.
Boardman, who won the rainbow jersey on the track and road as well as gold in the individual pursuit at Barcelona, has been appointed ‘champion’ for the scheme, which launches this summer, although as yet no operator has been appointed to run it. Boardman will be involved in that process, with his role being much more of a hands-on one than the title perhaps suggests.
"I'm delighted to back Liverpool City Council’s efforts to make Liverpool one of the country’s leading cities in promoting healthy transport initiatives that will also help the city be a quieter, safer and even more friendly place to visit,” said Boardman, former world and Olympic champion in the individual pursuit and Hour record holder.
“I'll be involved in every stage of the design and implementation of the scheme and I'm looking forward to seeing technology used not only to gain Olympic success but also to improve our every day environment.
“The bicycle is simply a fantastic way to get around, and I'm delighted it's at the heart of the council’s transport strategy."
The scheme, which is being financed through £1.5 million from the Local Sustainable Travel Fund, will be launched this summer, with 300 bikes initially available in the city centre before it is expanded into the suburbs over the following 18 months.
Commenting on Boardman’s appointment, Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Chris Boardman is an inspiration to cyclists everywhere. He is a British sporting hero, whose achievements at Olympic and World level will always be remembered.
“I’m delighted we have secured such an elite sportsman as Champion for our cycle hire scheme. His vast knowledge of cycling and his love for the sport will play a big part in us delivering the best scheme we possibly can.
“We’re now looking forward to working closely with Chris to develop our plans. We believe this scheme will help make Liverpool a leader in sustainable transport and will bring huge benefits to thousands of employees, residents and visitors in the heart of our city.”
Tim Moore, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, commented: “It’s great news that Chris Boardman has signed-up as Champion for our cycle hire scheme. He will bring real expertise to our plans, as well as helping raise the profile of the initiative, locally and nationally.
“We’re really excited about this scheme. We hope to see a future where hundreds more people are using bikes for their trips around the city, driving up health and fitness levels and reducing congestion and pollution. I’m delighted that Chris shares our vision and has made a commitment to work with us to help make it a reality.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.