A bicycle library has opened in an empty shop in London

Residents can borrow bikes for free, and take part in guided rides to build confidence. The idea is to break down the barriers that prevent many people from cycling.

London’s cycle superhighways and popular bike hire scheme, coupled with a realisation that cycling is the fastest way to get across the city, have put the wheels in motion for a pedal-powered revolution in the English capital. But while more people are jumping in the saddle, many still lack the confidence, knowledge and equipment to get riding. 

A pop-up bicycle library in Tower Hamlets aims to address that. It launched in Poplar this week, transforming an empty shop into a ‘cycle hub’ where children and adults living locally can borrow bikes for free. 

The month-long pilot is a partnership between the environmental charity Hubbub, Poplar Harca housing association, and the walking and cycling charity Sustrans. The idea is to break down the barriers that prevent people from cycling in London, including access to equipment and concerns about safety. Those behind the project hope it will inspire similar initiatives elsewhere. 

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