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Reading Council approves 1,000-bike cycle hire scheme

Ambitious per-capita provision puts London's Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme in the shade...

Reading Council has approved plans to introduce a bike hire scheme in the Berkshire town modelled on London’s Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme and the Vélib’ scheme in Paris.

While the town does currently have a cycle hire scheme, operated by OYBike, that was much more limited and seems to have quietly fallen by the wayside; just three bike stands are shown on an interactive map and none at a bike hire station that used to operate outside Reading Train Station.

The plans approved last night at a meeting of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative council are much more wide-ranging, with 1,000 bicycles available at 150 docking stations, reports the BBC.

Given that London, with a population of 7.5 million, will have a fleet of 8,000 bikes once the hire zone there has been extended eastwards, Reading’s plans appear ambitious in comparison, with its population 30 times smaller than that of the capital at around 250,000.

No details are yet available of how much money is to be spent on the scheme, nor how users are to be charged.

It is envisaged that hire stations will be available at locations such as Reading station and the university, as well as business parks in the area.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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