Stirling saw a dramatic increase in the number of people cycling across the city during the pandemic, with rates up 60 per cent in May 2020 compared to May 2019.*
Krysia Solheim, nextbike UK MD, said: “We’re really pleased that the scheme will be extended until June, thanks to funding awarded to Stirling Council from the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Local Authority Fund.
“It’s been an incredibly popular initiative, with Stirling cyclists riding almost the circumference of the globe since last June.
“There was huge rise in interest in cycling during the first lockdown, when there was less traffic on the streets and people were looking for a safe way to get around their towns and cities, and a safe way to exercise. We hope that by now, these habits will have become engrained for many people; and by extending the free rentals scheme, we hope that many more residents will take advantage of the offer.
“Our bikes are the perfect way to get around the city and by making small changes such as opting to take a nextbike instead of jumping in the car, our customers are helping to bring about positive changes that will lead to reduced congestion and CO2 levels, and will also help them to be fitter and healthier."
The free offer for Stirling residents applies to the first 30 minutes of every nextbike journey.
Stirling’s nextbike scheme includes 200 nextbikes, which are managed and maintained by a partnership between Forth Environment Link and Recyke-a-Bike.
Shirley Paterson, Active Travel Development Manager for Forth Environment Link said: “We’re heartened to see so many local people taking up cycling in the past year, making active travel choices that are good for them and the environment.
"We hope this latest funding boost as we head into the warmer months will encourage even more people to jump in the saddle and explore the city on two wheels as lockdown restrictions start to ease."
Angela Barron, Chief Executive, Recyke-a-bike added: "This funding is particularly welcome during these challenging times, not only does it make low, carbon active travel accessible and affordable to all in Stirling, but it also supports local employment."
To use a nextbike, simply register with a debit or credit card on the nextbike app or at any nextbike station across the city. For security, there is a one-off, £5 fee to register, which is added to the account as a credit, the remaining which can be refunded when the account is closed.
Anyone without a bank card or who needs extra support registering can contact Forth Environment Link for assistance: email firstname.lastname@example.org or 07923 277624.
*Cycling Scotland’s nationwide network of cycle counters recorded a significant increase in people cycling during May 2020, with numbers up in one Stirling location by 61 per cent compared to this time last year.