"On yer bike!" say Tourist Information Centre staff

Winchester City Council's award winning Tourist Information Centre (TIC), is now offering a bicycle loan service.  This new service is an extension of the successful Bikeabout scheme initiated by MIRACLES at Hampshire County Council.

The scheme, which is part of the CIVITAS MIRACLES European funded project to increase use of sustainable transport in the city, encourages people to take to their bikes instead of their cars when travelling in and around Winchester.  Bikeabout was designed for use by residents, visitors and commuters, with Bikeabout compounds located opposite Winchester Railway station and at St Catherine's Park and Ride.  With this additional site at the TIC the scheme is now even more accessible for leisure users and visitors to the city.  Ideally located in the Guildhall on The Broadway, the new loan point is perfect for visitors arriving in the city by bus or National Express coach.

Bicycles are available to use for free by anyone over the age of 18, after paying a single membership charge of £15 and £25 for a joint membership.  On joining the Bikeabout scheme members also receive a free cycle helmet, personal reflective jacket and cycle map.

Alison Woods, Tourist Information Centre Manager, commented, "Visitors to the TIC were always asking where they could hire a bike.  We are delighted to be able to tell them that we now offer a loan service, and we are sure it will prove a useful addition to the many services the TIC already offers."

Winchester City Council Portfolio Holder for Economy and Transport Cllr Richard Knasel, added, "This is a great scheme which will undoubtedly enhance the visitor experience in Winchester.  The tourism strategy for the Winchester District, launched last year, aims to encourage reduced car use by visitors and promotion of leisure cycling.  We are happy to be working with the county council to make the most of this opportunity."

The County Council's Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Tim Knight, said, "I'm very pleased to see the Bikeabout scheme extended to the Tourist Information Centre.  Winchester is a great city to explore by bike, and I hope some of the many thousands of visitors who come here will do just that."

For further information on the Bikeabout scheme, you can log on to www.winchestermiracles.org/bikeAbout.htm or call 01962 847 474.  Winchester Tourist Information Centre is open during the autumn and winter from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and can be contacted on 01962 840 500 or e-mail tourism@winchester.gov.uk or via the website located at www.visitwinchester.co.uk