Aberdeenshire Council and project partners will be hiring out 20 electric bikes for use along the Formartine & Buchan Way among other local routes.
Under the initiative, the electric bikes will be available to hire from both Peterhead and Fraserburgh leisure centres, Ellon Community Campus, MACBI at Mintlaw and Aden Country Park.
Although primarily for use on the old rail line, the e-bikes can also be used to visit other aspects of the North-east communities.
A haven for walkers and cyclists, the 40-mile Formartine and Buchan Way running from Dyce to Fraserburgh follows the former rail line and passes close to a host of popular attractions along its route including Aden Country Park, Deer Abbey, Drinnie’s Wood Observatory and several historic stone circles.
By its very nature, the former rail line is devoid of any steep gradients, providing the perfect backdrop for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy – including those who want to travel along the entire route.
The ‘F&B Way E-bike Hire Scheme’ has been made possible through a partnership between Aberdeenshire Council and Live Life Aberdeenshire, MACBI and Aden Country Park. Details around hire costs and booking instructions can be found at www.ebikeaberdeenshire.co.uk
Aberdeenshire Council’s Strategy Development Officer, Helena Leite, says that, in addition to the purchase of the 20 bikes, the scheme includes GPS trackers and docking points for the equipment.
E-bikes are very similar to normal bicycles, but have a small electric motor which can be utilised when the rider tires or encounters steeper inclines. In addition, bookings are made with an innovative system - all you need is a smart phone and everything is done through a free app.
Helena explains: “This initiative has been a long time in the planning, but we are delighted to have received funding from Aberdeenshire Council and LEADER to enable us to proceed with our community partners. We’re really looking forward to getting people out into the great outdoors using an environmentally-friendly alternative form of transport and enjoying some leisurely activity in our wonderful rural surroundings.”
Ewan Wallace, Head of Environment and Sustainability Services, added: “I’m delighted to see this scheme being introduced on the Formartine & Buchan Way and hope that it will encourage more local people to take up cycling or cycle even more. The e-bikes have the considerable added benefit of giving users a helping hand should they require a bit of power which makes it especially attractive for older age groups or people with physical or health limitations.
“Getting more people to take some healthy exercise is hugely-important and I can also see this e-bike scheme being particularly attractive to both local residents and visitors to the area. While the old rail line provides the perfect flat route for cycling, I would also be keen to look at other areas across the North-east where this might be introduced.”