Transition University St Andrews to challenge people to Ride to a Zero Carbon Footprint.

Transition University St Andrews is challenging local businesses to push St Andrews out front in the ‘Ride to Net Zero’. The race to lower the town’s carbon footprint is part of a week-long celebration of active travel from March 28th to April 1st. The highlight of the week is a Walking Wheeling Cycling Festival in the towns Church Square on the Wednesday March 30th from 11am to 3pm.

The event will offer St Andrews business owners the chance to try out the latest electric cargo bikes in a bid to convert to low carbon transport for ‘last mile delivery’ of goods. A concept which aims to support small business to make and receive deliveries by cargo bike either pedal- powered or electric assisted.

Transition University St Andrews has had an e-cargo bike for a number of years as part of local food, gardening and cycle fix it and hire projects. The environmental organisations which straddles the town and the university aims to cut the carbon footprint of St Andrews in practical ways and will soon take possession of three electric cargo bikes which will be lent to business owners and community organisations as part of a pilot cargo bike scheme.

“We were lucky enough to be successful in a funding bid to Crown Estate and Energy Saving Trust E Bike Scheme which has allowed us to buy these cycles at £7,500 each and we want everyone in St Andrews and its surrounding villages to benefit from them. So if you are interested we can show you how to ride them and how much the 130 kilo capacity can benefit your business by making deliveries quicker, cleaner and healthier,” said Alistair Mcleod Project Manager at Transition University St Andrews.

“Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling already have a Cargo Bike library, where business can book out the bikes online for long term or short term use for free. I have seen cargo bikes being used as mobile book shops, art galleries and to deliver food. They are so versatile and there are so many different types that they are already transforming our cities,” added Mr Mcleod.

Edinburgh Cargo Bike Library, run by cycling charity SUSTRANS,  lent out its cargo bikes to National Galleries of Scotland as a mobile art studio for their Art in the Open Project and the Water of Leith Conservation Trust borrowed a trike from the library to carry their tools along the river. Both organisations now own their own cargo bikes.   

A London based study found that cargo bikes made deliveries 60% faster than vans.  Written by Ersilia Verlinghieri, from the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy, the report pointed out that cargo bikes have a lower carbon footprint than even electric vans due to the environmental impact in the vehicle manufacture. The report said if cargo bikes replaced just 10% of the miles currently travelled by delivery trucks in London, they could cut more than 133,000 metric tonnes of CO2 and 190,000 kilograms of nitrogen oxide pollution a year.

Cargo bikes from Laid Back Cycles and Electric Bikes Scotland will be available for use on Wednesday 30th from 11am for local businesses as well as the public to try out on the day alongside solo e bikes, and adaptive cycles. Adaptive cycles are cycles that can be used by people with a diverse range of mobility and other issues.  A project which Transition University St Andrews recently ran for six weeks involved the use of cycles such as ‘hand crank cycles that don’t require the use of your legs or side by side cycles, where a passenger with very little mobility can experience cycling while a parent or carer does the work.

During the day long festival there will be a free bike fix it session by Bike Pool, led walks, led bike rides and stalls run by Fife Councils Bikeability Schools Coordinator, St Andrews Space for Cycling, St Andrews Transition University St Andrews.  The week will kick off with the launch of the St Andrews Travel Challenge a platform for people to record their good work in lowering their carbon use through sustainable travel options. Those who log on to the Ride to Zero part  of the platform will be automatically put into a draw to win a £100 Fit Bit.

During the week, starting at 12 noon on at St Andrews Sailing Club there will  be a confidence building led ride taking in a circular route of the town and ending up back at The Cheesy Toast Shack at Woodburn Place for a free toastie and a cuppa. There will be an e bike training sessions and ride from University of St Andrews new Eden Campus building at Guardbridge, Walter Bower House, on the Tuesday from 12 noon. E bikes can be lent to staff while others are welcome to bring their own e bike or borrow a pedal bike for the ride which will end up back in the café at Walter Bower House for a free sandwich. On Thursday there will be a free Bike to Work Breakfast at Walter Bower House Café too from 8am to 9am just turn up with your cycle and pick up a voucher from Transition University St Andrews staff. Then on Friday join Transition staff for a free family led ride at Tentsmuir Forest. Meet in the car park at 11am.

For a full programme of events see the University St Andrews website