Jobseekers in Yorkshire are getting a taste of Norman Tebbit’s medicine with a council push to get them on a bike and finding work.
Cheap bikes and cycle training are being offered as part of a £1.5m Department for Transport grant to promote cycling and walking to work across West Yorkshire.
The scheme is being run by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, with help from transport charity Sustrans and cycling trainers BikeRight.
Job seekers and apprentices will be offered one of around 250 bikes at a subsidised rate - which is yet to be revealed.
There will also be free cycle training - which will also be rolled out to the general public.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, transport chairman for the combined authority, told the Telegraph and Argus: “This initiative is going to have a real impact in West Yorkshire, not only for cycling but also for those who’re looking for work.
“Transport is such an important part of any economy and cycling is a cheap and flexible mode, providing you have a bike and can ride it with confidence.
“For someone who doesn’t have access to a car, they would have trouble taking on a job that includes shift work when public transport might not be running, or at a workplace that doesn’t have a bus stop nearby.”
Training will take place at five CityConnect cycle hubs across West Yorkshire, one in each local authority area. Bradford’s training will be held at the hub at University Academy, in Keighley.
Earlier this year we reported how Manchester jobseekers are being offered free recycled cycles to help them get back into work.
The Bike Back to Work scheme, a Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) initiative in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, allows jobseekers who have found new employment a free bike to help with travel costs.
It acknowledges that in the modern job market, many shift patterns are not supported by adequate public transport.
Eligible applicants will also receive free equipment, such as helmets and hi-vis vests, and access to free cycle training.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.