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Published: 15th DECEMBER 2022

How Sustrans’ e-bike project helped an Aberystwyth resident start a business, exercise, and volunteer

Rik Mowbray was one of the beneficiaries of the E-Move project, a Welsh Government-funded pilot project, which offers people across Wales the opportunity to borrow an e-bike or e-cargo bike for free. In this blog by Rik, he talks about his positive experience of using an e-cargo bike and how it’s changed things for him.

Aberystwyth local, Rik, ended up starting a small business and eventually volunteered after his experience through Sustrans. (Credit: Rik Mowbray).

Over lockdown, I used my pedal bike and trailer to help friends and neighbours out with collecting supplies and doing the odd job.

This came to be the start of my own small gardening business, which worked well over lockdown when traffic was quiet on the roads.

After lockdown ceased it quickly became apparent to me that I needed to become motorized, somehow.


Getting started, feeling supported

I reached out to the local E-Move project officer in Aberystwyth, after reading an article about the project in the local paper.

An appointment was made, and I was given help completing the necessary paperwork for the loan, as well as some training.

After that, I was given the Urban Arrow e-cargo bike to use.

Using an e-cargo bike opened up the reality of other travel options. (Credit: Rik Mowbray).

How the e-cargo bike helped with the day-to-day

On a regular workday, I would cycle to my customers within six miles from where I live, loaded with my tools for the day ahead.

A typical job would be weeding borders or tree planting, where I’d carry up to 100 small trees and a spade on the e-cargo bike, ready to head off and plant them.

The Urban Arrow was a great way to promote my businesses because I was able to put my logo on the side of the e-cargo bike.

The bike drew a lot of interest, and I found when I was cycling around people would greet me with a smile or say that they’d never seen anything like it before.

Maybe it helped that I played music instead of ringing a bell to let people know that I was there, too.


Wanting to give something back in return

After having had such a positive experience myself, I supported one of the E-Move project’s ‘have a go’ days in Aberyswyth.

Being part of that, I was able to witness the smiles of people as they tried out the different e-bikes and e-cargo bikes available.

People were being given a real alternative option to driving around in a tin can or waiting around for public transport.

I felt welcomed and I felt the warmth of the Sustrans scheme, without which I wouldn’t have sold my motorcycle and invested in my own e-cargo bike.

The E-Move project let me make informed choices about what I wanted and what I didn’t want, and now I’ve become known as the “Cycling Gardener”.

About the E-Move project

E-Move is a Welsh Government-funded pilot project delivered by Sustrans, that enables people to borrow electric cycles.

There are 20 e-cycles available through the scheme for people, businesses and organisations in Aberystwyth and the surrounding area to make use of.

The E-Move project also runs in other cities and towns across Wales, including Barry, Newtown, Rhyl, and Swansea.

For more information on the E-Move project in Aberystwyth, call Sioned Lewis on 07783 825577 or email Sioned.Lewis@sustrans.org.uk.


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