Active Transport Library

Community • Highland

Making active travel accessible to more people locally through the Fort William Bike Shed, by loaning bikes, tools and accessories.

Our story

The Lochaber Environmental Group works on a wide range of initiatives – from active travel to local food production, waste reduction to energy efficiency and renewable energy – that help foster a sustainable future for the environment and communities of Lochaber.

Our ‘Bike Shed’ initiative is no ordinary bike shed, but instead is a hub in Fort William that offers bikes, tools and accessories on a short-term loan basis so more people can get into cycling. Much like a library, for bikes instead of books, people can borrow electric and conventional bikes free-of-charge for a few hours or a few weeks.

The bike library also hosts a selection of accessories that are aimed at breaking the barriers to using a bike daily. For example, there are luggage trailers for people who would like to shop by bike; child trailers and seats for cycling the school runs; and tag-along style tows for people who would like to commute by bicycle with stuff.

There’s also a bicycle tool library that works on a similar basis, with a range of bike tools available to borrow on a donation basis. Visitors are encouraged to borrow the tools or attend a ‘Fix Your Own Bike’ session where they can use the tools and work stands in the Bike Shed while working under the guidance of bike technicians.

Building links within the local community is an important element for us too, from offering support to people lacking confidence to encouraging people looking to improve their physical or mental wellbeing through cycling. Our ongoing programme of maintenance workshops for different user groups can also support those who run the workshops, providing volunteering opportunities for people from all backgrounds.

To hear more from Lochaber Environmental Group, listen to the Carbon Copy Podcast Running Out of Time special episode featuring this initiative.

Our advice

Enabling people to try a selection of bikes before deciding to invest in their own helps them incorporate cycling into their routine and makes the switch to this form of transport for short, everyday journeys easier.

Electric bikes provide a viable alternative to cars for daily commuting and short trips around town and borrowing one can allow this vision to become a reality for people who might find the going on a conventional bike too hard.

The health benefits of more active transport are tangible and the relationships we have built with the NHS is evidence of the improvements in physical or mental wellbeing that can be found through cycling.

Our metrics

The aim of our Fort William Bike Shed project is simple: to increase the number of people making short journeys by bicycle!

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Response to climate crisis





Community, less than 9 people

Shared by

Emma Walters

Updated Jun, 2024

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