Travellers in St Helens can now get off the train and into the saddle with the town’s very own version of London’s popular “Boris bikes”.
The Bike and Go scheme, which allows commuters to borrow a pedal cycle for up to 72 hours from outside railway stations, has been launched at St Helens Central station by Northern Rail.
Cyclists have to pay an annual subscription fee of £10 and are then charged £3.80 per 24 hours of hire for the use of the bikes, with access controlled by a card which is handed to railway staff.
The idea is similar to schemes operated in many European cities and London, where the blue two-wheeled machines were quickly dubbed “Boris bikes” in aid of the popular Conservative mayor who introduced the scheme.
Northern Rail managing director Alex Hynes said: “It’s exciting to see the launch of the UK’s first national bike hire scheme at some of our stations. Bike and Go is a great way to continue your onward journey.”
St Helens Central is one of 23 stations to benefit from the expansion of the Bike and Go scheme, which is supported by the Department for Transport, across the Northern Rail network.
The rack of cycles was launched in St Helens on Valentine’s Day, with a special opening offer of two bike hires for the price of one to encourage couples to enjoy a special date on two wheels.
Riders hand over a card to railway staff in return for a key to gain access to their bikes, and are also given two locks to ensure it is securely fastened if it is being left overnight. The bikes must be returned to the same station from which they were originally borrowed.
The seven-gear cycles are equipped with practical features including pedal-operated lights, luggage carriers at the front and rear and puncture-resistant tyres, and are designed to be ridden comfortably over all kinds of terrain.
To find out more or register, visit www.bikeandgo.co.uk