Proving bikes are for all thanks to successful cycle-share initiative

Nina Borcard (left) and Rashmi Aggarwal (right).
Nina Borcard (left) and Rashmi Aggarwal (right).

A joint initiative to encourage disadvantaged communities in Glasgow to enjoy the benefits of bike share has been hailed a success with more than 4,700 trips made so far this year.

Bikes for All – an initiative led locally by Bike for Good and supported by key partner nextbike – allows people to access Glasgow’s popular bike share scheme at the heavily-discounted annual price of just £3.

The scheme also allows people to sign up without the need for a bank card and offers community engagement and cycling lessons to encourage people to give cycling a go – regardless of their background, ability, or income.

Originally based out of the Bike for Good community hub in Govanhill – Scotland’s most ethnically diverse neighbourhood – the scheme now covers the whole of the city.

Users include people from groups that are typically under-represented in cycling, including the unemployed, refugees, women and people from the Asian community.

The scheme has allowed one mum, Rashmi Aggarwal, to ride with her young son to school after previously having to run to keep up with him when he started riding a bike.

Rashmi, who has not cycled for 10 years, said: “Cycling lessons really helped me build up confidence on the road as I found traffic quite scary before, especially as I was new to the city. As I was able to hire more than one nextbike, my husband also started cycling again.

“We’re now regularly going out on family bike rides during the weekend.”

Nina Borcard, Bikes for All development officer, said: “More than half of our members said they had not considered cycling before joining the scheme, and 97 per cent said it had been useful to have staff help them through the sign up process, which just highlights the importance of the support we offer,” said Nina.

“Our riders have told us they like having people to hand, either offering advice through the sign-up process to those who are not app savvy, or offering lessons for the first few trips to those who are not confident riding a bike.

“The project is achieving an increase in cycling, reducing loneliness, tackling car dependency, and acting as a bridge to communities to foster a sense of community ownership and buy-in to schemes – which is exactly what we set out to do.”

Kryisa Solheim, nextbike commercial director, said she was delighted by the scheme’s success to date.

Krysia said: “We’re always passionate about ensuring that bike share reaches all parts of the community, not just the young, affluent, and tech-savvy, and Bikes for All has successfully allowed this to happen in Glasgow.

“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 Bike for Good and CoMoUK which make Bikes for All such a success in the city.”