Cornwall’s e-bike hire scheme has seen cyclists cover almost 8,500 miles since its launch in September – the equivalent of cycling from Penzance to Phuket in Thailand.

The first Beryl e-bikes came to Cornwall in September with 20 docking bays and 50 e-bikes across Falmouth and Penryn. The e-bikes were then introduced in Penzance in late December.

More than 1,500 people have signed up to the Beryl app, giving them access to Beryl e-bikes available at docking bays in and around the towns.

The scheme is set to be expanded to Newquay, St Austell and Truro in the spring. In all, the council’s contract with Beryl will see 250 e-bikes available across the five locations.

Connor Donnithorne, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, said: “This is all about supporting residents to make more healthy and sustainable choices about how they travel.

“Traffic surveys in Falmouth revealed that almost half of all car journeys to work are of less than 5km – what’s interesting about the data coming out of the e-bike scheme is that the average distance cyclists are traveling is around 3km.

“While it’s far too early to draw any conclusions on the impact the scheme is having on travel habits, it does show that people are interested in using more sustainable methods to travel short distances.”

Laura Jewell from Penzance BID said: “We are delighted to support this fantastic local scheme. Not only is it beneficial for sustainability and the environment, it’s also a great way for people to get out and about and explore the beautiful surroundings that we are lucky enough to have here in and around Penzance.”

Beryl CEO and co-founder, Phil Ellis, said: “It’s really positive that people are using the services so much already and shows that bikeshare really does provide a more sustainable, convenient and cost-effective option for shorter journeys in particular. 

“E-bikes are a really fun and versatile way to travel and their extra power can really open up areas, enabling riders to tackle hills and undertake longer journeys. 

“They’re also great for commuting, helping to reduce physical exertion and allowing people to arrive at work clean and ready to go.

“By swapping the car for an e-bike journey you’re not only boosting your own health and fitness, you’re also helping to reduce congestion and harmful carbon emissions, so why not give it a try.”

The e-bike share scheme has been funded by the Council’s Carbon Neutral Cornwall fund and the Department for Transport. 

The Beryl app is available for free download on the App Store for iOS, and the Google Play Store for Android users.  Users can pay for their journeys in a variety of ways to suit individual needs and circumstances.  

Pay As You Ride is best for single journeys or occasional rides and will cost users £1.50 unlocking fee and 10p per minute.  Minute bundles enable regular users to buy upfront and save money, starting at 100 minutes for £5.