E-bike share scheme Forth Bike has now launched in the Forth Valley - and with 120 bikes in its fleet available across the town of Falkirk and beyond, it's now the biggest electric bike share scheme in Scotland.
It's also Britain's first cross-regional scheme, connecting Falkirk to Stirling and Clackmannanshire council areas, and now means Falkirk has better bike hire provisions than similar initiatives in the pipeline for Glasgow and Edinburgh. It will be overseen by the charity Forth Environment Link, set up to encourage sustainable living and more journeys on foot and by bike. The £500,000 of funding needed to launch was funded by Transport Scotland, NHS Forth Valley, SEStran, Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council and Falkirk Council.
Forth Bike promise low cost access to high-tech e-bikes across the region - and the pricing is pleasantly surprising, with an annual pass costing £65 a year for unlimited rides and a month-long free trial for earlybird sign-ups. A pay-per-ride pass is £2, with the definition of a ride being a 30 minute period and overtime charges incurred afterwards - on an annual or monthly membership pass, the first 45 minutes are included before overtime kicks in.
Paul Garner, Falkirk Council’s environment spokesman, told the Falkirk Herald: “This exciting project will deliver low carbon travel options for residents and visitors to explore the area.
"It offers low cost access to high tech e-bikes across the region from as little as 18p a day. and early sign-ups for the scheme will also be given a free one-month trial. The bike share scheme will significantly add to the facilities for tourism and the town centre. We are hopeful that more cycle hire base units will be installed in other sites soon.”
Today Minister for Public Health @JoeFitzSNP launched #ForthBike by @ForthEnviroLink. Funded by a range of organisations including @ScotGov it provides affordable access to #Ebikes through a shared hire scheme for the region https://t.co/W5xIDdI0Xv pic.twitter.com/ABoHYvFsHm— Transport Scotland (@transcotland) June 21, 2019
The bikes themselves are courtesy of Canadian bikeshare firm Bewegen, with plenty of smart tech including fast recharging and a horn button that instantly shows you how much battery charge you have left. They have a 250 watt motor as standard, and the bikes are locked an unlocked via a mobile app - docking stations can be found on the map, with all bikes needing to be picked up and dropped off at allocated docking stations.
The Forth Bike scheme will also be the subject of an innovative NHS study, with bowel cancer patients using the bikes to travel to and from hospital to investigate how active travel impacts their health. Linnet McGeever of NHS Forth Valley said the scheme is "an opportunity for patients to improve their fitness with the benefits of trained instructors”.
Live in the area or visiting and fancy trying out one of the new bikes? You can find out more by heading over to the Forth Bikes website.