Forth Environment Link is starting 2019 in a wheely good way by giving out 250 discount vouchers for Stirling’s public bike share scheme, nextbike.

In a bid to alleviate transport poverty, the charity is offering locals struggling with transport costs a year’s membership for just £3 (normally £60).

Bike share officer Chris James said: “We’re offering affordable, flexible and convenient access to a bike without worries over the cost, storage, maintenance or theft of a personal bike. With the discount, a year’s nextbike membership is only £3, and the first half hour of every journey is free; making it miles cheaper than other forms of transport.”

The charity hopes the Bikes for All project will save participants money, as well as boost mobility, mood and independence.

Chris added: “The mental and physical benefits of being more active are well known. The bikes can be used for any kind of journey from commuting to education or work to social journeys to visit friends and family – we just want to see more journeys being made by bike. Discount vouchers can be picked up from our Active Travel Hub at Stirling train station, where you’ll also be able to get advice on cycle-friendly routes to get you started. We know getting back in the saddle can sometimes be daunting, so we’ll also be running a series of free led rides to boost confidence. Just pop in to see us from Wednesday 9th January find out more.”

The project has been welcomed by Start Up Stirling’s Ian Morris: “We support a number of people who suffer from isolation and loneliness with little social structure and a lack of self confidence in engaging with leisure activities that many of us take for granted. The Bikes for All Project gives people the opportunity to learn a skill, meet others and potentially adopt a healthier lifestyle. We have seen the benefits of people participating in Community Health walks and would see this project working in a similar way in bringing people together for social bicycle rides.  It may also afford people the opportunity to adopt a new means of transport which will save them money.”

Commercial director of nextbike, Krysia Solheim said: “Transport poverty is a very real issue for many people in communities across the UK. Having access to an affordable, reliable bike share scheme can have a hugely-positive impact on peoples’ lives in so many ways, from boosting mental and physical health to helping them access work or other activities easily in a greater area than before. We’re proud to be involved in the initiative alongside Forth Environment Link and hope the scheme will be a success in Stirling.”

To help support the project Forth Environment Link is looking for donations of bike helmets and gloves. If you can help or are struggling with transport costs, contact Chris James on 01786 474160/ or pop into Stirling Active Travel Hub.