THE new bikes hire scheme launched in Glasgow just last week has already seen almost 1000 rentals, including one to Loch Lomond and back.

The £600,000 Mass ­Automated Cycle Hire (MACH) scheme, for which 400 bikes have been stationed at 31 permanent locations across the city, allows people to rent out cycles by the half hour or hour.

Glasgow City Council, which launched the bikes with one month to go until the Commonwealth Games, said so far there had been 983 hires and 1166 members living within the city postcode area registering with the scheme.

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On average, the first 1000 customers were taking the bikes out for about 80 minutes. But according to the council, one cyclist took a bike to Loch Lomond and back, a round trip of around 40 miles.

Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "The people of Glasgow have already embraced the bike scheme.

"The bikes are being seen all over the city, as far afield as Loch Lomond, in fact, and are being used by commuters, students and visitors.

"Glasgow's is the biggest bike scheme in the UK outside of London. I'm sure it will continue to grow."

The scheme is operated by NextBike, which runs similar initiatives in 80 city locations around the world.