The fastest man to cycle around the planet has been unveiled as the face of the Capital’s new cycle hire scheme.
Ultra-endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont has been announced as the ambassador for the initiative ahead of its official launch in Edinburgh next month.
His roles include testing the app, docking technology and bike before the scheme is opened up to members of the public.
Mr Beaumont, who lives in the city, said: “I’m really pleased to get behind Edinburgh’s first cycle hire scheme, which will open up cycling to a much broader audience, showing the benefits and possibilities getting on a bike can bring to anyone.
“You don’t have to go round the world to get something back from cycling, and as someone who lives in Edinburgh, I’m excited to see the bikes and cycle hire points beginning to pop up all over the city as more people see the benefits of travelling on two wheels.”
Mr Beaumont, 35, last year smashed the world record for cycling the globe by completing the epic ride in 79 days. He completed the 18,000-mile route by cycling an average of 240 miles a day, sleeping for just five hours each night.
A total of 500 cobalt blue Pashley cycles will be available for rent, starting in the city centre, with 100 electric bikes to follow that will have a range of about 45 miles between charges.
The first 200 manual bikes will be available from September, with a further 300 by next April. The long-awaited scheme had been set for a summer launch but its operator revealed in May the start date had been moved back to next month.
Transport for Edinburgh Chief Executive George Lowder MBE said: “We are really excited that Mark will be an ambassador for the new Edinburgh cycle hire scheme. With Mark’s support we can inspire people of all generations who work, study, live in and visit the city to cycle more and enjoy our improved transport network.”
The Pashley bikes to be used are similar to those being introduced in London. However, they will have a “redesigned gear set to better suit Edinburgh” – to help riders tackle the Capital’s hills.
Transport and environment convener, councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “It’s fantastic to see these brand new bikes in use, and being tested by Mark Beaumont no less.
“By introducing a cycle hire scheme to Edinburgh we want to make it as easy and appealing as possible for people to cycle in the Capital, whether they live here, commute to or are visiting the city. With Mark as ambassador of this initiative, I look forward to seeing a lot more people choosing to explore our fantastic city by bike.”
Jason Holtom, Serco’s director of leisure Services, said: “Mark is someone who embodies the sense of adventure, energy and fun that cycling can unlock and we couldn’t think of a better person to test out our bikes as we approach the launch. We thank Mark for his support and look forward to working with him over the next year.”