Strengthening Communities

Essex Pedal Power Colchester


Making cycling more accessible in Greenstead

Due to a successful pilot in Clacton and Jaywick Sands, the Essex Pedal Power initiative expanded into Colchester in spring 2023, to provide eligible residents in Greenstead with the opportunity to apply for a free high-quality bike.

Essex Pedal Power is a community-based bike project, which aims to make cycling more accessible in some of the most deprived areas across the county. It provides a sustainable and low-cost method of transport for residents to access key communities within Colchester, increases access to employment and higher and further education opportunities, via access to the train station and key local services in nearby locations.

The Colchester programme is a partnership of the Active Essex Local Delivery Pilot, Essex County Council, The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS), Colchester City Council, Sport England, Cycling UK, London Marathon Foundation, local community groups and dedicated volunteers.


LDP Whos it for
Who's it for?
Residents aged 16+ living in priority areas of Greenstead
LDP Prime
Prime Objective:
to increase physical activity levels and active travel
LDP Second
Second Objective:
improve access to local services & opportunities further afield

The exciting community cycling initiative aims to giveaway over 700 free bikes in Greenstead by the end of 2025, providing residents with the many benefits of cycling, including improved physical and mental health, as well as better access to training, employment and education opportunities.

Recognising the importance of cycling as a lifelong skill and the inequalities in Greenstead, the Active Essex Local Delivery Pilot, Colchester City Council and the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board has supported this community-led project with a £1.32m investment.

applications received to date
bikes distributed to residents
total distance travelled

Essex Pedal Power has already had a positive impact on the lives of many Greenstead residents. Participants have shared inspiring stories of going on group and family bike rides, using their bicycles for commuting purposes, participating in the Clacton carnival, a mother bonding with her young autistic son through cycling, and a resident experiencing improved fitness and mental health during stroke recovery.

Celebrating the first bike giveaways

The Essex Pedal Power team have been working with the community to create new cycling groups, which have provided more opportunities to cycle and helped people develop social connections through cycling. Essex Pedal Power Colchester also joined and hosted various community events throughout the year, such as the Eco-Festival in Castle Park, a lantern building workshop and took part in the Christmas Light Parade through the High Street, which highlighted a strong sense of camaraderie.

Essex Pedal Power Colchester reached a significant milestone on Friday 22nd September, as the 100th free bike, was distributed to a Greenstead resident.

We all recognise the benefits of active travel - it's not only better for the environment and people's health but also reduces congestion and pollution. It's truly exciting to celebrate that the scheme has already helped over 100 residents from Greenstead. This achievement showcases Colchester’s and the county’s commitment to a greener future and the wellbeing of its residents.
Cllr Lee Scott, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Planning a Growing Economy

Key Challenges



Lack of build and office space has impacted the ability to distribute a larger amount of bikes



Building trust and maximising engagement with the community due to having no central hub

Bike parking


Lack of secure cycle storage at residents homes, has led them to return their bikes


The Colchester LDP has also been involved in other exciting cycling projects, including supporting Wheels for All; a nationally recognised charity that encourages fun cycling activities for anyone regardless of their needs, using a range of adapted bikes; refurbishing and donating over 100 unwanted wheeled items, and hosting the finish of Stage 1 of the Ford RideLondon Classique 2023. Essex Pedal Power is building on Colchester’s rich cycling heritage in the city, and promoting healthy, sustainable lifestyles for everyone.