The success of a Sutton shop selling cutting-edge electric bicycles is evidence that local people want to find healthier and greener ways of getting about.
I visited the Electric Bike Shop in Birmingham Road, which has seen an explosion in sales.
The success of this business is not only down to the brilliant range of products they supply but also changing attitudes to travel and transport. More and more people are cycling or walking on shorter journeys, and we are investing massively in high-quality public transport too. You only have to look at the success of the Electric Bike Shop to see how people are embracing cycling as a lifestyles choice.
The Sutton Coldfield branch, one of four across the country, opened in August and has been inundated with orders from local people.
Regional manager Paul Prince said: “It was great to welcome Andy to the shop and he was very interested in the response we have had from Sutton Coldfield people.
“Since the start of the COVID pandemic, our sales have risen by 250%. Next year we are predicting to sell 5000 bikes – that’s 400% growth – and we are hoping to open another 25 branches. These bikes represent a revolution in cycling, and Sutton Coldfield is in at the very start of it.”
An electric bike, or E-Bike, is a bicycle with a battery-powered motor. When you pedal, the motor assists you, increasing your speed and reducing the strain. When used to commute, the bikes help cyclists travel using far less effort – and avoids the need to change clothes or shower when you arrive at work. They have a range of up to 80 miles on one single charge.
I have championed cycling in the Starley Network, a new 500-mile cycling vision for the West Midlands. All 493 miles of the routes on the new network will be dedicated for active travel, with the ambition that the routes will either be traffic-free away from the highway or within roads but physically separated from traffic.
Communities must be fully consulted on transport plans – and cited the much-criticised Brassington Lane cycle lane as an example where things had clearly gone wrong. We are seeing real progress in providing better ways for people to get around the West Midlands, and there is clearly a growing appetite for more cycling routes. However, it’s also vital that we involve communities in the decisions that are made and really listen to what they say. That’s crucial if we want to build transport networks that people will welcome and choose to use.