I want to ride my bicycle

by Rich Howorth Urban Health & wellbeing Recreation Cycling Brighton Author - Liz Naven

Explore Brighton & Hove with BTN BikeShare this Spring!

Considering the weather we’ve had over the winter, it’s almost impossible to believe that spring has at last arrived in Brighton & Hove! But, as the temperature rises and the snow melts away, we can wave a firm goodbye to the cold weather. Spring is the perfect season to get outside, get active and enjoy nature emerging all around us. The sun is tempting us back outdoors and we’re more than happy to be led there.

In fact, we’ll race you there – on two wheels! What better way to enjoy all that Brighton (and beyond) has to offer than by getting on a bike and exploring this area of The Living Coast? On a BTN BikeShare bike in fact.

This award-winning scheme, sponsored by American Express and Life Natural Spring Water, has been gladly welcomed by locals and visitors alike. Since its launch in September 2017, 450 of the vibrant turquoise bikes have been stationed across 56 hubs in Brighton & Hove. The fondly nicknamed “Life Bikes” have strengthened our eclectic city’s cycle-positive status; and have quickly become part of the scenery.

With ever-growing rider numbers, they’re also one of the most popular ways to enjoy that scenery. Sightseeing has never been easier: simply pick up a bike and pedal your way to your desired destination, dropping it off at the nearest hub when you’re there. Bikes can be rented from as little as £1, meaning you can get around quickly and cheaply, while having a positive impact on the environment (and of course your health!).

There are loads of places the Life Bikes could take you this spring.
Delve in to the interactive Explore The Living Coast map for some digital inspiration!

Why not take a ride along Brighton seafront? Attractions include: fresh air, sea views, wild flowers and coastal shingle – and the iconic Brighton Palace Pier and nearby West Pier, of course. If you head in the opposite direction, you’ll easily reach Madeira Drive, where Europe’s oldest and biggest ‘green wall’ is located. Keep going and you’ll make it to the Undercliff Walk, a traffic-free haven where chalk cliffs meet ocean waves crashing against the sea wall.

Head inland and you’ll find some of the best parks our city has to offer, perfect for a springtime picnic (just pop a baguette in the basket of your Life Bike and you’re good to go!). There’s the Level, with its shady Elm trees and butterfly garden; Queens Park, complete with picturesque pond and wildlife garden; or St Anne’s Well Gardens, home to a wide range of native and exotic trees that will provide shade on sunny days.

There are also hubs at both the universities - the University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb campus and the University of Sussex’s Falmer campus. This provides a great option for students and staff to get to lectures using the BTN BikeShare scheme, but also offers an opportunity for people to easily reach Wild Park, Brighton & Hove's largest Local Nature Reserve, as well as the acres of woodland in Stanmer Park.

With so many great routes it’s no surprise that the BTN BikeShare scheme has taken off, becoming synonymous with the city and its residents. In just six months, there have been upwards of 22,000 users making over 120,000 trips, and these numbers are only set to increase during the spring and summer months.

Heat map of BTN bike share usage in first 6 months of the scheme

There are also plans for further expansion. Hourbike, who operate the scheme, carefully select new hub locations to improve the experience for its users. Last month, two new hubs were opened in Hove as a direct response to customer demand. Dispersing the hubs more widely throughout the city gives users in different neighbourhoods greater flexibility. Riders can more easily end their rentals at an official hub, without incurring out-of-hub fees, as well as being able to explore further afield.

This means you can now easily extend your seafront cycle – perhaps heading over to Hove Lagoon to try out some new watersports? And if the sea is still too chilly this spring, you can always go for a swim in more temperate waters at King Alfred Leisure Centre.

The bikes are for everyone: from seasoned cyclists and bike commuters to casual riders and absolute beginners. BTN BikeShare has made cycling accessible and affordable, encouraging more people to get on a bike and go for a ride.

So why not join them this spring, and enjoy all that Brighton & Hove as part of The Living Coast has to offer?

Liz Naven
BTN Bike Share


Visit our interactive map for ideas on places to visit.

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