200 electric bikes for hire across Scotland

The biggest expansion of power-assisted cycling north of the Border will see more than 230 electric bikes being funded by the Scottish Government, ministers announced today.

Electric bikes enable riders to pedal effortlessly up hills. Picture: Jon Savage
Electric bikes enable riders to pedal effortlessly up hills. Picture: Jon Savage

Many will be available for hire, including 63 in Glasgow and 52 in Edinburgh as part of the cities’ rental schemes.

Universities and colleges, housing associations and community groups are among the 19 bodies to benefit.

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The £470,000 boost also includes electric cargo bikes for organisations such as council company South Lanarkshire Culture and Leisure.

Such was the demand, a further £250,000 has been allocated for a second round of e-bike applications.

Ministers see electric bikes as having a huge potential to increase cycling, especially among the less experienced, and older people.

The bikes enable riders to cycle further and faster, helping them to keep up with other traffic and pedal effortlessly up hills.

Edinburgh’s Serco-run hire scheme, Just Eat Cycles, named after its sponsor, was launched with traditional bikes last month and plans to eventually provide 100 e-bikes.

It said in May it hoped to introduce the first ones next spring and more by August.

The Glasgow scheme, run by nextbike and launched in 2014, has not said when its e-bikes will be available.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “We had a hugely encouraging response to the fund, with 36 applications aimed at helping people of all abilities.

“It was great to see requests from rural areas where e-bikes can be particularly important for helping people get around and cover greater distances than a normal bicycle, potentially tackling social isolation, especially where public transport is limited.

“E-bikes give as much or as little assistance as you need, so they’re a good first step for anyone looking to try their handat active travel, especially if their route could involve hilly terrain.

“Cycling can be great for our health and our environment,” he added.

Other groups getting e-bikes include vulnerable families charity Hope Amplified (15) and Scotland’s Learning Partnership (12).

Matthew Eastwood, head of transport at Energy Saving Trust, said: “We are very pleased we received a large number of applications, ranging from small community groups looking for e-bikes to facilitate access to services in rural communities, right up to local authorities looking to facilitate large-scale public hire schemes to enable a shift to sustainable and active travel and improved air quality.”

Successful applicants:

o Glasgow City Council: 63 e-bikes for public hire scheme (nextbike) – £176,623

o Hope Amplified: 15 e-bikes – £14,786

vulnerable and disadvantaged family, young and children in every aspect of life

o Transition Linlithgow: 3 e-bikes for community FiXiT Hub – £6,497

o Happy and Healthy: 6 e-bikes – £9,864

o Glasgow Kelvin College: 3 e-bikes – £5,771

o Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council: 5 e-bikes – £6,553.

o Bike for Good: 5 e-bikes (includes one e-cargo bike) – £13,642

o North Ayrshire Council: 5 e-bikes (includes one e-cargo bike) – £8,399

o University of Strathclyde Student Association: 6 e-bikes – £14,405

o South Lanarkshire Culture and Leisure: 18 e-bikes (includes 3 e-cargo bikes) – £23,330

o The Laggan Forest Trust: 3 e-bikes – £1,640

o Clydebank Housing Association: 5 e-bikes (includes 1 e-cargo bike) – £4,345

o Arran Eco Savvy: 6 e-bikes – £11,706

o Kirknewton Community Development Trust: 2 e-bikes – £4,598

o Scotland’s Learning Partnership: 12 e-bikes – £15,000

o Loch Lomond and Trossachs Countryside Trust: 2 e-bikes – £5,941

o Volunteer Dundee: 8 e-trikes, 2e-bikes, 1 trailer – £14,661

o University of Stirling: 12 e-bikes – £7,465

o Transport for Edinburgh: 52 e-bikes – £119,946