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Head to Biosphere Bikes in Girvan for bike hire and much more!

From Electric Bikes to Go-Karts and Beach Wheelchairs – Girvan’s Biosphere Bikes has a whole range of wheeled options available for hire 

Biosphere Bikes is on a mission to make cycling accessible to all in Girvan and their diverse range of bikes for hire ensures there is something for all ages and abilities. There are of course standard bikes available but you can also opt for an electric bike, side-by-side electric tandem, go-kart, or even an e-quad buggy so all the family can travel along Girvan’s traffic-free promenade together.

Recent additions to their equipment include beach wheelchairs and a beach stroller that enable those with mobility issues to travel down an accessible ramp onto Girvan’s golden sands.

Bike and equipment hire is just one of the services that Biosphere Bikes offer. They also hold workshops and community events, provide a cycle repair service, and run a bike library. With new shop premises opening on Girvan’s Henrietta Street in 2023, an addition to their existing cycle hire hub next to The Quay Zone, we thought it was a good time to catch up with founder Ann Berry for a chat.

We asked her about the beginnings of Biosphere Bikes, future plans, and her tips for visiting Girvan.

  • Hi Ann, can you tell us when Biosphere Bikes opened and what the inspiration was behind the idea

Biosphere Bikes started in 2018 with seed funding from The William Grant Foundation. This funded a 20ft shipping container in the car park at the Quay Zone Leisure Centre and 12 refurbished bikes.

I opened weekends through the summer season to gauge interest. It became apparent that it was something that local people and visitors were definitely interested in.

A partnership with Adventure Centre for Education, a local outdoor education centre based in Girvan, resulted in a successful funding bid for equipment to grow the project from the initial pilot. Planning permission was granted in 2019 to place containers in the seafront car park allowing us to expand and evolve into what the hub is now.  We were all set up to do a Girvan Bike Fest at the beginning of 2020 but then the lockdown came. 2021 was the first season opening over the summer holidays and weekends, and 2022 was the first full season (April-Oct) opening Wed – Sun.

The idea for Biosphere Bikes came when I retired in 2014 from my 30 year career as a police officer in London. Cycling was a big part of my life through commuting and socialising. When I returned to Girvan in South Ayrshire I found that there were no local cycle groups or much cycling activity for leisure cyclists and families. I loved cycling and all the health and wellbeing benefits it brought so wanted to share that experience with others in the local community. That’s where it all started.

  • Can you tell us more about the equipment and services you offer

It quickly became apparent that Biosphere Bikes was not just about 2-wheel conventional bikes but very much about accessibility and inclusion.

Responding to the needs and wants of the local community and visitors, we now provide conventional 2-wheel bikes, electric bikes, family buggies, and go-karts, accessible ability bikes, beach wheelchairs, and other mobility and accessibility aids to cycling and getting around.

  • Biosphere Bikes is a not-for-profit social enterprise, can you tell us what that means

A social enterprise is an organization whose main goal is to promote social or environmental welfare rather than making or maximizing profits. Non-profit means that all the revenue made through the business is put back into the business to further its social or environmental aims. Biosphere Bikes was always going to be run as a social enterprise business. For me, it has always, and always will be, about community benefit and positive social impact.

Cycling and cycling activities are tools for engaging across a  wide spectrum of the community to improve health and wellbeing in a variety of different ways. This could be cycling or workshops, or giving opportunities to individuals or groups who may face barriers to engaging physically, socially, or financially because of cost or perceived ability.

  • It has been awarded a Biosphere Certification Mark, what criteria did you have to meet to attain the mark

We are very proud to be a Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere-certified business. The criteria are –

We needed to have signed up as a proud supporter

The business needed to be fully operating within the Biosphere region

We needed to be one of the listed sectors that could apply

We needed to provide evidence of sustainable business development

  • You are currently renovating a new shop premise in Henrietta Street, what services will it provide once it opens

Bike servicing workshop

Sale of refurbished bikes and cycle related items

Community workshops where people can learn cycle maintenance tips like puncture repairs

A drop-in room where anyone can come (well behaved dogs included) and just have a chat and a cup of tea and it doesn’t need to be bike related.

The community bike library will operate from the shop

Working with The Biking Explorers, guided rides will run from the shop

  • What do you personally enjoy about cycling

Cycling gives me a sense of getting away from it all

  • What advice would you give to visitors interested in exploring Girvan by bike?

Do it 😊 you will see and feel and experience so much more than if you were in a car.

Definitely have a chat with Paul from The Biking Explorers, he knows every route and has a wealth of knowledge of the history and interesting places to go and see and explore by bike. Consider an e-bike so that you can explore further for longer

  • What else would you recommend visitors do during their time in Girvan

There are so many things to do in Girvan. Definitely pop into the Tourist Information Point and get some local info to go explore Girvan and surrounding areas. Check out the Go Girvan calendar for any local events, Stumpy Tower, the gardens, The McKechnie Institute, the prom, boating pond, restaurants, shops, and the wonderful working harbour 😊

Most of all enjoy their time and come back again and see us 😊


Pop over to their website to find out more about bike hire in Girvan and the other services Biosphere Bikes offer

Discover more outdoor activities you can try in Girvan