South Scotland

Bikes from mothballed Dumfries hire scheme could help cancer patients

Image caption The council was left with bikes and hire stances after the service was mothballed

Bikes from a mothballed hire scheme could be used to help in the recovery of cancer patients.

The Bike2Go project in Dumfries was launched in 2010 and was the first of its kind in Scotland.

The service was withdrawn in 2015 after figures showed it averaged just a couple of rentals per day.

However, the bikes could now be put back into use as part of the Move More MacMillan Cancer (MMMC) project aimed at assisting the recovery process.

The £155,000 Dumfries bike hire scheme was based on similar models in London, Paris, Barcelona and Stockholm.

Uptake in the town was low throughout the period it ran but a report to Dumfries and Galloway Council stressed that it was not intended to be self-sustaining but rather seen as providing a service.

After its withdrawal the 42 bikes and associated infrastructure remained the property of the council.

Image caption The old hire points could be turned into bike racks under the proposals

Local group Cycling Dumfries was commissioned to look at what could be done with the vehicles and the empty stances around the town.

It is now suggesting that lending the bikes in small lots to local community groups could be the way forward.

The first three-month pilot project, if approved, would allow MMMC to work with people recovering from cancer to "build confidence in cycling for short journeys".

"This would allow better social mobility, aid in recovery by providing low impact physical activity with the long term aim to get these individuals back into regular cycling as the main method for short journeys," said a council report.

"Only 23% of people with cancer are exercising to the national guidelines with 31% not exercising at all.

"Evidence is now highlighting that these low levels of physical activity increase the risk of debilitating side effects and recurrence of the disease.

"An increase in physical exercise can help avoid these situations."

The pilot project would see them use up to eight bikes and its success would be evaluated in conjunction with NHS Dumfries and Galloway.

Cycling Dumfries also looked at the future of the stances which used to store the hire bicycles around the town.

It has suggested that they be turned into bike racks at a cost of about £5,000.

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