A project designed to get more people using bikes for everyday journeys has been rolled out in Inverness.
Launched at the city’s Cairn Medical Practice, locals had the opportunity to have a free bike check-up, try out a tandem or trike and get advice relating to electric bikes.
One attendee at the event was 83-year-old Mary Dyce who brought to an end 30 years of cycling the streets of inverness aged 80, after she felt the roads were too busy.
Mrs Dyce jokingly said: “They took the bike from me. I think they were frightened I would fall off. I have cycled for all my life but for 30 years I cycled to and from work. I think it’s a lovely idea. I enjoyed my ride on the trike and I’d like to go on it again.”
Dr Katie Walter, partner at Cairn Medical Practice said: “It was a great day. We saw a fantastic project from Cycling UK, WheelNess, off to a flying start, our bike doctor Dave from Velocity was kept busy all day, the ebikes from Home Energy Scotland got a lot of interest, everyone got a shot on the trikes and I ate a lot of cake!
“I have so many conversations with patients about how to make positive changes in their lives, so I am particularly pleased that this project is happening here in Inverness
“Hearing Mary talk about her love of cycling was pretty special. That she stopped cycling aged 80 because she was put off by cars is sad. It would be great to make Inverness into a place that was safe for all to cycle!”
The WheelNess project aims to provide people with free access to a bike and a personal programme of support to get them out on two wheels. Particular emphasis will be placed on those on low incomes who may struggle to afford their own bike, and those with underlying health issues of which cycling can be used as an aid.
Dan Jenkins, health improvement specialist for NHS Highland, said: “Transport costs can really add up, and buying a bike is also out of many people’s budget. WheelNess is a brilliant community initiative which will help give people vital new local travel options.”