Pedal-powered loans to key workers

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The Ardrishaig Bothy is helping key workers and other residents get around – using pedal power.

The Bothy has loaned out its fleet of 11 electric bicycles and six traditional cycles to help people commute to work, take their daily exercise and undertake other essential tasks.

The Bothy, a collaboration between Cycling UK and Scottish Canals, works with organisations to encourage more people to walk and cycle in the area. The bikes are from the project’s new e-bike loan scheme, a partnership with Mid Argyll Community Pool, which was ready to be launched when lockdown measures were introduced.

The free bike loans have gone out to key workers including a nurse, pharmacy staff, a teacher, a supermarket worker and a GP surgery practice manager. Other people have taken up the loans to help boost their physical and mental health. Many participants also received a helmet, lock and a puncture repair kit to help keep them on the road.

Alec Ohnstad, project co-ordinator for the Ardrishaig Bothy, said: ‘We’re delighted our e-bikes are being put to good use by key workers and others who will benefit from them.

‘Many people are using cycling to get from A to B during the lockdown, while others are finding it’s a real boost to their health and well-being. When social distancing guidelines are relaxed we look forward to launching our e-bike library, but in the meantime we can’t think of a better use for the bikes.’

Cycling journeys in Scotland have shot up during lockdown, with recent figures released by Transport Scotland showing a 120 per cent increase compared to typical levels.

Cycling UK is also providing free essential cycling services and repairs for key workers through the Big Bike Revival for key workers scheme.

The charity is working with more than 60 independent bike shops, recycling centres and mechanics workshops in Scotland – including Fyne Bike Cycle Repair in Ardrishaig. Key workers can access free bike servicing and repairs from the business and are encouraged to message via Facebook or call 07475 381234 to arrange an appointment.

Find out more about the Ardrishaig Bothy on Facebook, email alecohnstad@cyclinguk.org or phone 07887 567578.