An event, held at Clacton Greensward on Saturday 23rd July 2022, saw residents, volunteers, local organisations and partners come together to celebrate a year of the Essex Pedal Power project, which is growing the cycling community in Clacton and Jaywick.
The successful community-based initiative has made cycling more accessible for people living in Clacton and Jaywick Sands, with over 300 new bikes currently distributed to eligible residents, and a further 1,000 over the next year. Adapted bikes are also provided for applicants with a disability.
The £2.7 million pilot scheme is a partnership of Active Essex Local Delivery Pilot, Essex County Council, SELEP, The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS), Tendring District Council, Community Voluntary Services Tendring, Bikeability Trust, Raleigh Bikes, See Sense, Sport England, Cycling UK and local community groups. The project also includes a £1.7m upgrade of the cycling path between Clacton and Jaywick Sands.
Since launching in June 2021, Essex Pedal Power has already made a positive impact to the lives of those who have received a bike, as well as creating new community cycling groups, a brilliant cohort of volunteers and regular learn to ride training sessions.
Cycling makes active travel a free option, enabling Essex Pedal Power participants to access education, training, and employment opportunities further afield. The health and wellbeing of cyclists has improved, with many stating they have lost weight, are more physically active and their mental health has been positively impacted, by getting outside and cycling on a regular basis.
Diana Hogben, Essex Pedal Power bike recipient commented; “Essex Pedal Power has opened up opportunities for me beyond cycling. I have always struggled with my weight but since having the bike I have become more active and healthier, and wanted to help others like me. I now run a free community weight support group as well as wellbeing walks and led rides!”
Cllr Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said; “It’s been fantastic to see the Essex Pedal Power community develop over the past year. Friendships have formed, communities have strengthened, and the project has become so much more than just a free bike scheme. Essex Pedal Power is providing a free method of sustainable active travel, helping to improve people’s health and wellbeing, as well as reducing congestion and pollution for the communities we live in.”
Due to the pilot’s success, Essex Pedal Power will launch in Colchester later this year, and in Harwich next year, with the aspiration of Basildon too, helping thousands more people in our most disadvantaged communities to enjoy the many benefits of regular cycling. The programme is a positive way to help residents in Essex cope during the cost of living crisis.
Cllr Lynda McWilliams, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member for Partnerships, added: “Essex Pedal Power has proved really successful since its launch, helping people to get active, find friends, and even work with an affordable mode of commuting. It’s been brilliant to see how the scheme has taken off, with community rides and social groups forming, and it is no surprise that the initiative is being extended.”
Due to the pilot’s success, there are plans in motion to scale up Essex Pedal Power to other areas in the county, helping to further tackle inequalities in our most disadvantaged communities.
To find out more about Essex Pedal Power, please visit