Residents of the Social Bite Village in Granton have taken delivery of eight hybrid bikes to help them navigate the city in a cycle-share scheme.
Independent bike retailer the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative provided the Sirrus bikes, from manufacturer Specialized, that can take roads and tracks in their stride, allowing the eight residents to make their way around the Capital quickly and easily, and boost their physical and mental health.
Staff at the Bicycle Co-operative will be servicing the fleet of bikes as well as providing locks, mud guards, helmets and kickstands.
Social Bite worked closely with the co-operative to source the right bikes for the residents’ needs.
As some of the residents will have never cycled before, or will be returning after a long break, staff from the Bicycle Co-operative will teach them how to use the bikes and stay safe on the busy roads of the Capital.
They will be using their two-wheeled rides to travel to college, university, jobs and other appointments.
Social Bite, founded and helmed by Josh Littlejohn, opened the village made up of ten two-bedroom houses earlier this year.
The village will provide safe accommodation to its residents of up to a year at a time. It was created with the aim to create an alternative to the accommodation solutions that already exist in order to provide pathways into employment and permanent housing.
The Social Bite Village is run in partnership with Cyrenians, a charity that works with the homeless and vulnerable to transform their lives for the better. There are 12 residents currently living in the village with numbers rising to 20 in the next few weeks.
The Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative was established in 1977 by three cycling enthusiasts who believed that a worker’s co-operative was a fairer way to work.
They now employ more than 100 people in their two Edinburgh stores (Bruntsfield, Canonmills) and their Aberdeen, Leeds and Newcastle stores.
Alan Nestor, the Bicycle Co-operative’s managing director, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Social Bite Village in providing bikes for residents. We know they will have a great time riding them.
“There’s no doubting the physical health benefits of cycling, but beyond that, it can help reduce stress, anxiety and combat depression.
“It’s also one of the most economical forms of transport, and you know exactly how long it’s going to take to get somewhere, which is an advantage in a busy city.
“As an employee-owned-and-run business we understand that the Village is a fantastic initiative, and we hope to be able to continue this partnership as the project grows and flourishes.”
Charlotte Turner, head of organisational development at Social Bite Fund, said: “We chose bikes for the residents because they’re environmentally friendly. They’re also easy to use, will provide opportunity for exercise, and will allow the residents to really connect with the local area.
“We also wanted to support a local business, and the Bicycle Co-operative were instantly enthusiastic about the project.”