Bikes from failed ReadyBike hire scheme used for tourism boost

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BikesImage source, Reading Borough Council
Image caption,
ReadyBike was launched with a £1.2m government grant in 2014

Bicycles left over from a failed hire scheme are being donated to hotels in a bid to boost tourism.

The ReadyBike scheme in Reading ended in 2019 after struggling when a government subsidy ended.

It emerged Reading Borough Council had been keeping the scheme running at a cost of £10,000 a month.

The council said it was donating 50 redundant bikes as a "new sustainable travel option" for hotel visitors and staff.

The stock of ReadyBikes has been kept in storage since the bike hire scheme ended two years ago.

The bikes were also offered to key workers in Reading as part of a short-term loan scheme during the pandemic.

Reading's hotels had suffered from lockdowns restricting overnight stays, with some losing almost an entire year's income, the council said.

Nigel Horton Baker of Reading UK, which promotes tourism in the Berkshire town, said the donation was "very welcome" for the "hard-hit tourism and hospitality sector" which has been curtailed with lockdowns restricting overnight stays.

"With business visitor numbers decimated, it is vital that Reading's hotels are able to attract leisure visitors this year.

"Promoting Reading as a healthy and safe outdoor destination will be an important strand of this work," he added.

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