Scottish Government and Cycling UK to help Scots choose cycling for journeys less than five miles

women cycling in urban area
Shift is launching during Bike Week, to help 20,000 more people cycle in Scotland
Launched during Bike Week, Cycling UK's new project, Shift, will help 20,000 Scots get on their bikes for short everyday journeys

  • New project will support people to jump on a bike instead of into their car and help people on low incomes with few transport options
  • Scotland-wide project from Shetland to Borders
  • In Scotland half of all journeys between 1-2 km are made by car
  • Cycling journeys are up 47% in Scotland in 12 months since first lockdown

As people across Scotland celebrate Bike Week (30 May – 5 June), Cycling UK is launching a new project to get even more Scots cycling. The project, called Shift, will provide funding and expert support to organisations so that they can deliver cycling activities that will help people jump on a bike, instead of into their car.

Scotland has seen a surge in cycling during the coronavirus pandemic, with cycling journeys up 47% in the 12 months following the start of the first lockdown in March 2020. Cycling UK wants to see this trend continue beyond the pandemic and make cycling a natural choice for shorter journeys.

The most recent data shows that 34% of journeys under 1km in Scotland are made by car, which rises to over 50% when the journey is between 1km and 2km.

Shift will aim to equip more Scots with the choice of cycling for these short journeys and reach people on low incomes who have limited transport options. It will operate right across Scotland from Shetland to the Borders.

The programme builds on Cycling UK’s current community work, such as the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme which saw more than 25,000 bikes repaired during the pandemic.

Funded by Transport Scotland, the project will provide grants of between £400-800 and a host of expert support to at least 100 organisations who want to help people in their community discover the benefits of cycling.

From cycle training and confidence boosting sessions to cargo bike trials for local businesses, Shift will deliver a wide range of activities to get communities pedalling for everyday journeys.

A network of development officers based in communities across Scotland will be on hand with expert support and advice, networking opportunities and access to training. The project aims to reach 20,000 people over the next 12 months.

Grants are open to any organisation that can meet the aims of the project including charities, community groups, higher education establishments and businesses.

Scottish Government Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “I’m pleased we’re providing £390,000 to support the Shift programme by Cycling UK. This high impact grant fund will provide at least 100 organisations across Scotland with grants, coupled with expert guidance to encourage cycling for everyday journeys.

“The benefits of walking, wheeling and cycling are clear – both for individuals and for the environment. Cycling rates have never been higher and we need to keep up this positive momentum for our wellbeing and for our climate.

“If you’re an organisation hoping to get communities cycling – get in touch and find out how the Shift programme can help support your plans for active and more sustainable travel.”

Gabriella Farquhar, Shift programme manager for Cycling UK said:

“When more people ride bikes to get around, the whole community benefits. It improves people’s health and wellbeing, reduces air pollution and traffic congestion, and brings economic benefits as well.

“The people who know communities best are those who live and work in them. That’s why we’re supporting organisations to run cycling activities in their own communities using their local knowledge and expertise.

“I’d encourage any organisation that wants to help more people to ride bikes for short everyday journeys to apply for a grant and get involved in this exciting project.”

Notes to editors

Notes to editors:

  1. Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often.
  2. Shift will support more people in Scotland to cycle for short everyday journeys. Organisations will receive funding and support to deliver cycling activities in their local communities like cycle training, confidence boosting sessions and cargo bike trials for local businesses. Shift is run by Cycling UK and funded by Transport Scotland.
  3. Data on cycling increase:
  4. Data on percentage of short journeys by car: Transport and Travel in Scotland 2018, Table TD2a

Press contact information

For more information, please contact Jennifer Young on 07775 403652 or email Out of hours, call 07786 320 713.