Bike rental scheme for Cuckoo Trail in East Sussex could be launched next year

A Countrybike bicycle
A Countrybike bicycle

A new bicycle rental scheme could be launched for the Cuckoo Trail next year.

Wealden District Council is in talks with app-based rental company Countrybike on bringing its business to the 14-mile former railway line.

The Cuckoo trail

The Cuckoo trail

David Chennell, community and regeneration officer said: “The bike rental scheme is a company we are looking to work with in partnership called Countrybike. They currently run a number of schemes in the north of the district, mainly in Forest Row.

“People are able to register, have a membership on that app and then – by paying a fee – be able to rent that bike at a cost.

“That cost, at the moment, is under discussion and we are looking at the legal arrangements, in terms of who liable.”

He added that, if an arrangement can be reached, the council hopes to install the bikes at five locations along the Cuckoo Trail – Polegate, Hailsham, Heathfield, Hellingly and Horam.

The app would be open to both visitors and locals who would be able to pick up and drop off the bikes at any of the locations, Mr Chennell said.

He added that, while no decision has yet been taken, if all goes well the scheme is expected to be put in place by Spring 2019.

Details were shared with councillors at a meeting on Monday (November 12).

A local company, Countrybike was started by husband and wife team Tim and Suzy Seddon in 2017 and has bikes based at 11 locations in the countryside surrounding Tunbridge Wells.

Mr Seddon said: “By using internet enabled locks and a mobile app, the technology allows us to place bikes remotely without the need to be there to facilitate their hire and return. This in turn enables us to open up the countryside to bike hire in a way that simply has not been possible in the past.

“This opportunity fits well with our strategy to open up cycling to those wishing to explore the local countryside.  It would also see a natural evolution of the business to place bikes more permanently along the trail, rather than just deliver bikes on demand.

“With the Cuckoo Trail being mainly off-road and reasonably level, we believe it is perfect for cyclists of all levels.”