Darlington’s very own bike hire scheme was formally launched on 25 August at the Darlington Festival of Cycling in South Park. Compared to London’s estimated £25m annual budget, Darlovelo’s £40k is modest indeed. The scheme is benefitting from a £35k grant from Bike Hub, the bicycle industry’s “New Ideas” fund. There will also be “in kind” contributions from Darlington Borough Council, though no cash.
Darlovelo is inheriting the bikes that featured in the Beauty and the Bike project, and will be based at Darlington Media Group’s workshop, behind Darlington Arts Centre. Three of the young women who starred in our film have now bought their bikes, but another eight bikes are still being hired out by Darlington Media Group. Six further bikes are being donated to the scheme by Darlington Borough Council. With 18 new bikes purchased, the Darlovelo scheme now has 32 bikes available for hire.
If the scheme goes well, there are plans to expand over the next two years, with two further bases and up to 100 bikes.