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City could have banks of hire cycles by early 2014

York residents and visitors could have access to cycle hire across the city by early next year.

The City of York council has agreed to fund a pilot for the next two years, which will see 130 bikes available at 38 sites in the city.

They will be centred around facilities including shopping centres, the universities and park and rides.

The council is looking for corporate sponsorship to add to the £200.000 a year it has already pledged - and the outcome of that could affect how much the bikes cost to borrow.

In London, Barclays sponsor the Boris bike scheme, which along with user contributions of £2 a day raises £13 million towards the running costs for the fleet of 8,000 bikes.

York will host a section of Le Grand Depart at next year’s Tour, and the city already boasts 11,000 of its 200,000 residents riding to work as their main form of transport.

Dave Merrett, the cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, told the BBC: "There still remains a gap in cycle provision for those living, visiting and working in York who don't have a bike and require a quick and flexible service to meet a variety of needs."

The 2014 Tour de France will start in Leeds on Sunday July 5 with a stage that pops into the Yorkshire Dales and finishes in Harrogate. The following day riders set off from York and head into the Pennines for the hilliest of the three stages that ends in Sheffield. They then transfer to Cambridge for the start of stage three, which will finish in London on The Mall.

Earlier this year we reported how Nottingham's bike hire scheme could be under threat after it was found that fewer than one bicycle a day has been hired in the six months since the city bike scheme was launched.

The scheme has only been used 126 times since September, but council chiefs have blamed the weather and say they expect usage to pick up as the summer approaches.

And in 2010, Scotland’s first cycle hire scheme, launched in Dumfries in September, saw slow uptake in its first two months of operation, with 47 users making an average of three journeys each. With the scheme costing £155,000 to put in place, it meant that each trip cost more than £1,000.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.