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E-bikes, easy and essential?


Recent events have shown us just how beneficial bikeshare schemes can be as a safe, healthy and reliable travel option. During the pandemic alone, Glasgow’s nextbike UK fleet of 63 bikes and 21 stations became an essential commute support, with almost 1000 free monthly memberships given to key workers during the Covid-19 outbreak.


We backed the very first fleet of e-bikes in Glasgow as part of our Zero Carbon Communities (ZCC) campaign to help support communities to deliver on climate change. With August rentals soaring to record figures and almost 100,000km covered since launch, we asked our colleague Colin to share thoughts around his e-bike experience and sustainable travel.

1.What do you think the biggest benefits brought about by an initiative such as nextbike?

Initiatives such as nextbike provide a cheap, convenient and environmentally sustainable means of getting around the city centre. There are a large number of bike stations dotted around the city and slightly beyond e.g. Rutherglen where you can pick up and drop off your hire bike.  Although owning your own bike may be preferable in the long-term, if you find yourself looking to get from one end of the town to the other the accessibility of nextbikes makes this a great option to consider. I have in fact met a cyclist who chose to use a nextbike for his regular commute because it was cheaper than maintaining his own bike.

2. As a regular cyclist, how manageable are your journeys by bike as a greener transport choice each day?

I first started cycling to work when I was balancing part-time studies with a full-time job and it was the only opportunity I had for exercise.  Since then cycling has become a key part of my daily life, helping me to maintain both physical and mental health while reducing my carbon footprint.  People most often quote safety and weather as the two main obstacles to cycling, the reality is if you dress appropriately the weather is not really an issue (most days).  In terms of safety there is an increasing network of cycle routes (most of my route to work is on segregated cycle paths) and also the vast majority of motorists are quite considerate.  Since we moved to the new HQ, I have cycled to work every day and when the contract on my car runs out at the end of this year I will not be replacing it, which will be good for both the environment and my pocket.

3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to try a nextbike but doesn’t know where to start?

In the evening you will see a number of people cycling round the city on nextbikes.  It is very easy using the nextbike app on your mobile to sign-up for nextbike, find a bike nearby and complete the bike hire.  Also, there are several more bike stations dotted all around the city, many more than I appreciated, which makes it convenient to find a bike and drop your hire bike-off when finished.  I would advise that there is a limited number of e-bikes and it is therefore helpful if you are happy to also hire a normal bike. 

4. How important is it for everyone to play their part in green community living?

Almost every day we hear more information about the pace at which global warming is progressing and that we are running out of time to avert an ecological disaster.  We have to think about the world that we are leaving our children and grandchildren and do what we reasonably can today to live sustainably.  Walking or cycling are the most environmentally sustainable forms of transport and for regular short journeys such as commuting to work, these combine environmental benefits with health and financial benefits.   

 Want to try an electric bike for free?

As part of World Car Free Day, we’re making all e-bikes by nextbike UK free to use in Glasgow on 22 September.