A PIONEERING project is using pedal power to give people in Inverclyde new paths to travel.

From Kilmacolm to Belville Street residents are getting on their bikes to get fit, healthy and explore their own communities.

It is all thanks to the groundbreaking Inverclyde Bothy project.

Funded by Cycling UK, it is the first initiative of its kind and has proved so successful that it is now being rolled out into other areas.

Cafe worker Ruth Quigley and Chris McCann, a volunteer in the Belville Community Gardens, are among those who rediscovered the joy of cycling and are now leading others down the same road.

Ruth, 25, works in Cairn in Kilmacolm, said: "I was inspired by Josh from Inverclyde Bothy.

"He cycles in Kilmacolm and comes in to Cairn and we got chatting about cycling.

"The Bothy helps people get bikes and gives training sessions.

"I felt I was stuck in a rut, going to work, coming home and sitting down and I wanted to get some exercise.

"I'd tried running but I just didn't like it.

" I haven't cycled since I was a child so I thought I would give it a go and I love it.

"It helped my confidence to get a couple of training sessions, to learn more about hand signals and road safety.

"I am now out and about, exploring places I would never normally go.

"It is brilliant."

Ruth is now set to take part in a leadership course with Inverclyde Bothy so she can take groups out.

Joining her is Chris McCabe, 42, from Kelly Street, who goes to the Inverclyde Recovery Cafe and is looking at working with the Inverclyde Bothy to lead a dedicated group there.

He said: "I love the fresh air and the exercise.

"Cycling helps with your mental health and makes you feel better."