Free bike hire gets Stirling cycling

Stirling residents have been taking advantage of a free bike hire scheme to keep active during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Almost 7300 hires of NextBikes were made between September and December 2020 compared to 1450 hires in the same period in 2019.

Through funding from Paths for All’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme, Stirling Council enabled residents to use the bikes for free for the first 30 minutes, providing a low-cost option for travel that supports health, wellbeing and the environment. 

Stuart Douglas, Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Manager at Paths for All said:

We’ve seen the number of people walking and cycling during periods of lockdown soar. We’re thrilled that our funding can support innovative project ideas, like this Nextbike initiative, to keep the momentum going. 

By offering bike hire for free, this project is creating more opportunities for more people to have low-cost local journeys and enjoy the benefits of being active, as well as provide a practical alternative way to travel than by car or public transport during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The 30-minute free hire has been running since June when Forth Environment Link and Cycling Scotland announced that Stirling’s Nextbike scheme would be free to locals until the middle of September thanks to £30,000 in funding from Transport Scotland. A further £24,000 of funding was received from Paths for All to continue the popular offer through to March 2021.

Locals grabbed the opportunity to ride for free, with more than five times more hires taking place between September and December 2020 than in the same period during 2019.

Convener of Stirling Council’s Environment and Housing Committee, Councillor Jim Thomson said: 

“It’s one of our key priorities to improve access to environmentally friendly travel so Nextbike has been a valued partner for years now.

“We’re hoping that once people start to move around more frequently and freely, they will continue to include cycling as part of their daily lives.

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

Stirling’s Nextbike scheme includes 200 Nextbikes, which are managed and maintained by a partnership between Forth Environment Link and Recyke-a-Bike.

Vice Convener, Councillor Danny Gibson, commented: 

“Giving access to these bikes for free makes it even easier for the people of Stirling to stay healthy, while adhering to the national guidelines on travel.

“The climate emergency remains at the top of the Council’s agenda and, by making the switch to pedal power in such large numbers, our residents are helping to reduce carbon emissions and congestion in the city.”

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, £1 fee to register, which can be refunded. For more information, visit the Nextbike website


Smarter Choices, Smarter Places is Paths for All’s programme to increase active and sustainable travel throughout Scotland. The programme is grant-funded by Transport Scotland.