Nia wasn’t confident or keen to cycle before she borrowed an e-bike from Sustrans. That all changed thanks to E-Move, the Welsh Government-funded project that makes e-bikes accessible to people across Wales. It led her on a journey that completely transformed her relationship with cycling.
Being able to borrow an e-bike for free through the E-Move project inspired Nia back into cycling. Credit: Nia Owen.
Despite having ridden bicycles a few times as an adult, cycling regularly was a no-go for Nia.
She had a bike at home but had never really got on with it.
Some knee pain that affected her on climbs also meant that it was difficult to do anything other than flat rides.
That all changed, though, when in autumn of 2022, Nia borrowed an e-bike through Sustrans' E-Move project.
“The loan e-bike from Sustrans made it possible for me to cycle often enough and far enough to realise what life could be like with a bike,” said Nia.
“We were able to understand how we would use it as a family, without gambling the expense of buying an e-bike before knowing if it’d work for us.”
E-Move is a Welsh Government-funded project which runs in five locations across Wales, enabling people to borrow an e-bike for free for a month.
Empowering people to change how they travel
The first day that Nia got the e-bike, she rode it the whole six miles home.
It was a moment which marked the beginning of a change in Nia’s relationship with cycling.
The day after she took the e-bike home, she was back out again, this time going for a 16-mile coastal ride.
Taking its two short but steep climbs in her stride, Nia was back at it again the next day with a trip around some local parks.
As well as being ideal for leisure, e-bikes offer a real, viable alternative when it comes to travel.
Nia, geared for all weather, on her e-bike and with her daughter’s trailer. Credit: Nia Owen.
Sparking a love for travelling actively
The positive impact of borrowing an e-bike through E-Move was clear – it had ignited a connection with cycling that Nia hadn’t had before.
A week into borrowing the e-bike, Nia was going out for 30-mile rides, towing a trailer with her five year-old niece.
In the first fortnight of her e-bike loan, Nia had cycled more and further than ever before in her adult life.
“As a family, it’s allowed us to cycle to places we’d normally have driven to,” Nia said.
“Now cycling is part of our daily life year-round!”
Making an e-bike available and accessible for free for a month meant that Nia connected with cycling and travelling actively in a way she hadn’t experienced before.
This led to her eventually buying her own e-bike, after finding a bargain e-bike for sale later in the year.
E-bikes leading to a different way of travelling
Since making use of the E-Move project and then buying her own e-bike, Nia’s fully embraced cycling as a form of transport.
The turnaround means that she now often chooses the bike over getting into the car.
Over the summer, Nia started to get into a routine that normalised cycling, using her e-bike to take her daughter to visit her grandparents.
Before, that was a journey that was always done in the car.
Now, Nia’s regularly out on her e-bike, sometimes riding it every day of the week.
“To say the loan of an e-bike from Sustrans has changed Nia’s life when it comes to active travel would be an understatement,” said Tom, her partner.
“It has helped unlock an incredibly competent, confident cyclist, and has made active travel a part of everyday life.
“It’s come at a time where it could fundamentally affect another life, too.
“Our daughter is 22 months old and will now grow up knowing that bicycles, trailers, and child seats are a normal part of daily life, and a viable alternative to the car!”
If you live in Rhyl, or the nearby area, and are interested in borrowing an e-bike for free for a month, contact Jonny Eldridge by e-mail or by calling 07922 875131.
Find out more about the E-Move project, funded by Welsh Government.