On your bike: Big Issue launches e-bike scheme to help create jobs for homeless

Trying out the Big Issue Bike

The Big Issue is launching plans for an electric bike rental scheme to help create jobs.

The organisation has formed a joint venture with Norwegian company ShareBike, which will be rolled out across the UK in the new year.

Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue and a keen cyclist himself, sampled one of the eBikes, in a distinctive bold red and white design, in his home city of Cambridge, in an effort to call on councils and local businesses to take up the scheme, to provide sustainable travel and support unemployed or vulnerable people back into skilled work.

The scheme, which will be run by people who were previously unemployed, is part of The Big Issue’s Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA), which is aiming to help keep people in work and in their homes during the recession.

Lord Bird said: “We are living through some dark times, with predications that hundreds of thousands of people could lose their jobs and be made homeless.

“It’s been wonderful to come together with a like-minded organisation with a truly innovative venture that offers hope to those facing great adversity due to Covid-related poverty.

“So by renting an eBike from The Big Issue not only are you doing good for the environment but you are doing good for others too. You are biking for good.”

The magazine has asked more than half its 2,000 vendors to stop selling the magazine during the four-week national lockdown in England.

Jan Tore Endresen, chief executive of ShareBike, said: “In our partnership with The Big Issue, ShareBike sees a unique opportunity to help people whilst providing sustainable mobility.

“With more than 20 years’ experience in global bike sharing we have ensured that Big Issue eBikes offer a comfortable and convenient alternative to fossil fuel-based transportation, as well as providing an affordable mode of travelling around cities in the UK.”