MEASURES to make the University of Bolton 'covid-secure' have been welcomed by arriving students.

Mahimna Vyas was the first to collect one of the 1,000 bicycles ordered by the university as part of keeping students safe during the pandemic.

Mahimna, who is studying for a Master’s in psychology, said he was delighted to be able to use the mountain bike to make his commute to and from campus.

The 21-year-old, who is originally from India and is the university’s International Students’ Champion, is due to graduate next year.

He said: “I am very happy to have this bike – it has been a dream to be able to ride a bike to and from campus, it is a good idea by the university.”

A total of 1,000 bicycles and safety helmets have been ordered from Halfords as part of the Student Bike Loan Scheme.

Professor George E Holmes , President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, said: “It’s fantastic to see the bikes we have bought for our students now here on site as part of our innovative plans to make the campus covid-secure for the new semester.”

The Student Bike Loan Scheme is one of a wide range measures to make the campus covid-19 secure for staff and students in the autumn.

Prof Holmes said more would be bought if student demand required it: “We decided to go the extra mile and give all our full-time students the opportunity to access bicycles to use for their commute on a loan basis at no cost to them.

“It means they will be able to travel to and from university and between campuses, avoiding the need to use public transport where they may have legitimate concerns about the spread of the virus.

“Cycling also has added health benefits for students, as well as helping to protect the environment.”

Prof Holmes added: “At the University of Bolton we put the student experience at the heart of everything we do and this will be an added bonus for new students or for those returning to their studies.”

Students will need to pay a refundable deposit of £50 and declare that they are competent to ride a bicycle.

Training and safety sessions will be organised for free, run by Bolton Council’s ‘Bikeability’ Scheme, for students who wish to have a cycling ‘refresher’.

Jason Pendlebury, Sports Centre Manager, said: “All students who complete an application will be offered an appointment via an online portal.“We will ensure that the right sized bike and helmet, based on the application, is ready for the student when they arrive to collect their bike. “It was good to see that Mahimna was so pleased with his bike. It’s a healthy and environmentally-friendly way to get around.”