STIRLING residents are enjoying free access to a fleet of 200 hire bikes for the next three months.

Bicycles in the nextbike hire scheme are available for free until September 5.

The number of people cycling in the area has surged in the past months during the coronavirus lockdown and the scheme has been made free thanks to £30,000 funding from Transport Scotland.

Cycling Scotland, charity Forth Environment Link and Recyke-a-Bike have teamed up with nextbike UK in Stirling to deliver the initiative.

To take advantage, local residents are asked to register a debit or credit card on the nextbike app – for security there is a one-off £1 fee to register, which can be refunded.

Krysia Solheim, managing director at nextbike, said :”There has never been a better time to get on a bike.

“Not only does it improve physical health and wellbeing but it has a hugely positive impact on mental health too.

“We are seeing huge demand across all our schemes as the public look for alternative ways to get to work so we're delighted to be able to work with all our partners to provide this for free."

The scheme builds on the success of two previous lockdown initiatives which made nextbikes as well as bicycles in the Forth Bike scheme free to key workers.

Clara Walker, executive director at partners Forth Environment Link, said: “Cycling is proving to be one of the best ways to get around during the crisis.

“In fact, we've seen bike share use in Forth Valley soar to three times its normal level since lockdown began.

“We’ve also had some fantastic feedback from key workers about the benefits to their physical and mental health.

“This new scheme, which extends free nextbike hire to all for the next three months, is a great way for everyone to try out a bike and build exercise into their daily routine, helping them stay active."

Visit here for more details.