We put Big Issue’s eBikes to the test to find out what they were like and if they were safe

The Big Issue eBike scheme has launched in Bristol - so we downloaded the app and went for a ride

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Bristol has 500 brand new red and white e-bikes on its streets thanks to a scheme by the Big Issue.

A year after the yellow YoBikes left our city,the new bicycle hire scheme has arrived with a target to replace 1,900 car journeys in a year.

And as well as reducing congestion and encouraging people to get active, bosses say they will recruit and retrain unemployed and vulnerable people to work on the scheme.

To use them it costs £19.95 a month for a subscription for unlimited rides, with up to 10 minutes each ride and 20p per minute after.

Courtney takes it slow and steady past Bristol CathedralCourtney takes it slow and steady past Bristol Cathedral
Courtney takes it slow and steady past Bristol Cathedral

There is also a pay-as-you-go option which requires a £10 deposit and 50p to get started and then 20p per minute after up to a maximum of £12 for the day.

So, what are they like?

Firstly, downloading the app and adding my card details was quick and easy.

I then used the QR scanner on my phone on the code on the handlebars to unlock the bicycle, and despite the app being quite slow, I’m soon good to go.

After putting my helmet on, my first thought it that the bike is heavy.

Big Issue accept this on itswebsite, stating that they are ‘quality bikes that are built to last whilst giving the user a comfortable experience’.

The app shows where bikes are located for hireThe app shows where bikes are located for hire
The app shows where bikes are located for hire

It adds that the electric will make the bike feel much lighter to use.

Getting on the bike and starting to peddle, you can feel the electric which propels you forward and means it take minimal effort to get up a hill.

All in all, it is quite a decent experience, offering a smooth ride in the city centre.

I also feel alot safer on these bikes than I do on Voi scooters.

What Big Issue say

Being electrical and not bound to docking stations, the groups says the bikes will take up a minimal amount of space on the street.

It says users will be able to travel further on the bikes due to their battery, which will also help with the hills in Bristol.

As well as providing a ‘comfort and fantastic user experience’, it says the scheme will lead to social inclusion.

Big Issue said: “We involve and create jobs for the vulnerable and have a true social impact on society.”

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