A group of HIE bike enthusiasts applied to the Cycle Friendly Development Fund at the end of last year, and we were awarded £7,000. The initiative is run by Cycling Scotland with support from Transport Scotland.
The grant has funded four bikes, two of which are electric, as well as safety and security equipment for staff to use for travel to work, meetings in the local area, and for recreational cycling.
Over 180 staff are based at An Lòchran including HIE; University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) research and education departments, the STEM Hub; Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) research and consultancy divisions; the Science Skills Academy; Wave Energy Scotland; the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) and Interface.
Karen Thomson, senior development manager at Inverness Campus, and cyclist, said: “We’re over the moon to have been awarded this funding and to be introducing the bike pool here. Our new bikes will make cycling easy and accessible for staff at An Lòchran.
“There are many physical and mental health benefits to making regular exercise part of your life. The bike pool fits perfectly with our healthy-lifestyle ethos at Inverness Campus; we love seeing as many people as possible using the lovely parklands.”
Local business, Bikes of Inverness, has supplied and will maintain the bikes. Business Partner Kenny Riddle said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with HIE to get people out on bikes. The combination of e-bikes, along with the manual bikes, is a great way of opening up cycling to all rider abilities."
The employees will join 52,000 staff across the country, including those at National Library of Scotland, Scottish Parliament, Aberdeenshire Council and NHS Highland, who have introduced a range of funded initiatives including showers, repair stations, Dr Bike maintenance sessions, hairdryers and safe cycle parking.