A GLASGOW woman who struggled to tie her shoelaces at 17 stone has credited the city’s bike share scheme for helping her stay slim after shedding a third of her bodyweight.

Sandra Barr, from Parkhead, has now set up her own all-female cycling classes using nextbikes to help other women in the area shed the pounds and improve their fitness.

Before Sandra launched the group, some of the woman had never been on a bike or had last cycled as children.

The Tuesday night group will now run every week throughout the summer thanks to free bikes provided by nextbike.

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After initially losing weight through Slimming World last year, Sandra started using the city’s bike share scheme to maintain the weight loss and has now become a nextbike ambassador to encourage others in the community to get fit.

After attending Breeze – the women’s cycling programme established by British Cycling and Scottish Cycling – Sandra saw a demand for more classes. She undertook the leader training provided and created her own group alongside Lara Phillips, who travels from Ayrshire to help lead the class.

Lynda Stewart, 45, who is part of the group, said: “I couldn’t ride a bike before.

“I wouldn’t have even attempted it but at the group I felt confident enough to give it a go.”

Fellow group member Elizabeth Thompson, 52, said: “Before going to the group I hadn’t been on a bike for approximately 40 years.

“I honestly never thought I would ever sit on a bike again, let alone cycle several miles.

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“I was so nervous the first week and didn’t believe in myself too much, but one month later I am now looking forward to taking up cycling as a hobby.

“The group has benefited me immensely. I would never have had the courage to attempt cycling on my own.

“There’s also great camaraderie within the group and everyone is keen to help each other.”

Sandra said: “It’s great to hear some of these women’s stories,

“Some were scared to cycle, some had never cycled at all and others had not done for years.

“Being an all-female group, women are able to relax and feel more confident. I have had interest from men too so I’m currently planning a mixed group to run alongside the women’s.

“Nextbike have been great and have offered us free bikes to use for the next three months and we hope to extend this indefinitely because it’s made such a difference to these women’s lives.”

Julien Scriven, MD for nextbike, said: “The group Sandra has set up represents the true sense of what we are trying to achieve as a bike share operator. Our bikes played a pivotal role in Sandra’s incredible story, and for her to facilitate such great change for other women in the community using nextbike is something we are very proud to be a part of.”

There are presently around 500 bikes at 53 stations across the city and more than 17,000 people have registered for the scheme.

Anyone interested in joining a Breeze class can register at letsride.co.uk/breeze