New cycle parking at Harper Centre in Bedford

A new bike storage shelter has now opened in Bedford town centre, near Harpur Square adding to the bike racks that are currently there.

Cyclists need to email with their full name, address in Bedford Borough and phone number to access the shelter.

They will then receive details on how to access the unit and will need to download the ‘Okey Access’ app on their smart phone.

The bike storage unit uses secure encrypted Bluetooth and ‘Near Field Communications’ to communicate between your phone and the shelter, you do not need internet access.

The council said that this is the UK’s first ever cycle hub to feature an app-based locking and booking system that can be managed from your smart phone or tablet.

Councillor Henry Vann, portfolio holder for town centres and planning, said:

“Safer cycle parking was something raised during consultations on our Town Centre Plan. This will help to encourage more people to cycle into the town centre and visit our beautiful Embankment, amazing independent retailers, and leisure and cultural businesses and activities.

“Cyclists will still need to lock their bikes in the shelter, but this added security will help to keep bikes safely in store and is part of a host of measures to encourage more people to visit the town.

“This shelter is being funded as part of the Government’s £1m Town Deal Accelerator Fund. One of the other projects is cycle signing of 27 routes into the town centre and a circular route around the town to encourage more people to cycle.”

Peter Blakeman, from the Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire, said:

“This new secure cycle shelter in Harpur Square should help encourage more people into town and we hope it is a first step towards tackling bike thefts and encouraging people to use our town centre more.

“Returning from shopping to find your trusted old or expensive new bicycle missing is not a nice experience. For your peace of mind we always recommend when leaving your bicycle – no matter for how short a time – that it is secured to a one of the many ‘Sheffield’ type cycle stands dotted around the town centre using where possible two different locks such as a chain and D-lock.”

The Okey Access App can be downloaded from the Google Play Store here.

The Okey Access App can be downloaded from the Apple App Store here.