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The charity group behind the Point and Sandwick Trail has begun testing the use of e-bikes on its coastal routes.

This follows the most recent opening of the Iolaire Memorial to Lower Sandwick section. 

Seven Cube touring e-bikes were purchased by the community path group from Alistair Glover of Bespoke Bicycles in Stornoway as part of a £14,403 package of funding secured from Energy Savings Trust and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

Point and Sandwick Trail are testing their new bikes to gather feedback on their use to develop an e-bike hire project on their accessible path which will eventually stretch to a 40km circular route from Stornoway through Sandwick and around Point.   

In addition to the bikes, a police-approved bike shed has been purchased as a result of £1,731 in funding from Western Isles Development Trust. Volunteer feedback is already positive with one cyclist trialling a new e-bike commenting, “I did 22km on the bike today and it was great… it really made cycling easy again.”

Alasdair Nicholson, Community Consultant with Point and Sandwick Trust who secured the funding for the group said “Due to Brexit, we had a long wait for delivery of the bikes and even the shed delivery took several months but here we are, all in time to test the bikes on the newest sections of the coastal path, between Shulishader and Flesherin, and Stornoway to Holm.

"The arrival of the e-bikes offers several benefits including a new angle for promoting use of the paths, not just for walking and running but a novel way of getting active through cycling.  E-bikes give great assistance to people recovering from health issues as well as for older people in the community who might have thought their cycling days were behind them”. 

Alasdair referred to a recent transport survey, conducted by Point Community Council and Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) which found that 25% of Point respondents were “extremely interested” in a local bike scheme and a further 18% were “very interested”. 

The report highlights that there is a level of need and demand in the area and this project will contribute well to the active travel agenda, helping people become more active and introducing e-technology into daily lives.

As the project is developed and refined the e-bikes will be rotated to be able to reach more people. It is also hoped to get funding to employ a co-ordinator post as the scheme grows.

Alistair Glover of Bespoke Bicycles showing volunteers the ropes

Pedal power for Point and Sandwick