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Businesses needed for wheely good project

Grassington, 3 April, 2012.

Tourism businesses in the Yorkshire Dales are being given the chance to join a new project aimed at boosting their takings – using electric bikes.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) is hoping to launch a Dales Electric Bicycle Network as part of the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance’s (DITA) 'Connecting the Dales' project.

And businesses involved in the tourist trade are being asked to consider either becoming locations where cyclists can recharge their batteries – and their bike's as well - or bike hubs where visitors can hire the bicycles.

Kath Needham, the YDNPA's Sustainable Tourism Officer, said: “Many people who enjoy cycling but who are not super fit may dismiss biking in the Dales as too challenging.

“But electric bikes are great for ‘flattening’ hills – giving visitors the chance to choose a green form of transport on which to enjoy this fantastic but fragile countryside rather than in a car.

“From a business owner’s point of view, hiring out bikes or acting as a charging point can be a great commercial opportunity.

“Following on from successful launches last year in the Lake District and the Peak District national parks, we are now looking to launch the Dales Electric Bicycle Network to cover our National Park and beyond.

“But, for it to be a success, we need to hear from businesses in the Dales who can see the potential and want to know more. 

“The bikes appear to be a real draw to visitors and if, for example, you offer accommodation, they could be a reason why guests pick your place to stay over others.

‘If you’re a café, being a charge point could attract customers to you who could eat and drink while they charge up their battery for the next stage of their ride.

“For that reason, we’re issuing a call for any local businesses who may be interested to email me at kath.needham@yorkshiredales.org.uk for more information. 

“The next stage will be for the Electric Bicycle Network – the company who set up both the national parks projects – to bring a couple of the bikes around the area, in order that those interested can have a go and see what they think. This will also be a chance for them to ask questions about the scheme.

“Following on from this we hope there will be enough businesses interested to launch a functioning network by late Spring.”

Malcolm Petyt, the YDNPA’s Member Champion for Recreation Management, said: “Electric bikes are an alternative and eco-friendly method of travel in the National Park for people who would otherwise use a car because they wouldn’t be able to manage pedalling up the hills in our beautiful dales.”

The DITA  ‘Connecting the Dales’ project funding extends beyond the Yorkshire Dales National Park boundary, the wider geographical area is contained within Richmond, Bedale, Ripon, Harrogate, Ilkley, Skipton, Settle, Bentham, Kirkby Lonsdale and Kirkby Stephen.

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