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Free bikes prescribed to boost mental health

Words by Smiley Team

Doctors across the UK will now be able to prescribe free bikes, in an effort to boost public health.

Thanks to a pilot study performed in Yorkshire, in conjunction with the charity Cycling UK, doctors will soon be able to prescribe cycling, walking and wheeling, for wheelchair users. This is part of a further three-year trial, where prescriptions will include free bike loans, adult cycle lessons, and cycling and walking groups.

“We know the cost-of-living crisis is already having a detrimental impact on people’s well-being and is likely to further burden the NHS,” said Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK’s chief executive. “This expansion of a proven and effective initiative is timely and will be a practical way to help ease those pressures.”

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These prescriptions are intended to have a positive impact on not only physical health but mental health too, by empowering people with new skills and relationships. By encouraging people and giving them the tools to get back outside and engage in some form of exercise, it is hoped that people will gain confidence and see a marked improvement in their health.

“Cycling UK has been running the pioneering Cycle for Health programme in West Yorkshire for five years, and we’ve seen the difference we can make to people’s quality of life through a targeted cycling initiative in a social setting,” said Sarah. “Our data shows clear increases in people's cycling, and in meeting the recommended levels of physical activity following participation in the scheme.”

Trials across the UK will start this year and run until 2025 in Bath and North East Somerset, Bradford, Cornwall, Cumbria, Doncaster, Gateshead, Leeds, Nottingham, Plymouth, Suffolk and Staffordshire.

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: Support Cycling UK and help them to bring the benefits of cycling to people across the nation.

GET INVOLVED: Join Cycling UK’s crew of micro-volunteers and help the charity where you can.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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