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Forth Bike Rental Falkirk

Anyone used these rental bikes? I've tried several times to e-mail them but I never get a response. Is seems like a fun way to explore the area so would be a good resource. Thanks

Posted by
3214 posts

Looking at their facebook page complaints of over charging and total non responsiveness. And their latest facebook message of 17 February says -

Dear Forth Bike users,
We would like to inform you that the various social platforms of the system will temporarily no longer be monitored/maintained by our team. Please visit the system's website for the latest updates.
Thank you for your understanding.

which seems an odd way to run a business.

Overall doesn't give me a good impression.

Posted by
367 posts

isn31c That's very true. I thought it would be a fun way to go from Falkirk Wheel to the Kelpies.
That's more challeging now too.

We will likely take the train from Waverly Station but i'm still trying to figure out which station. The bus to Falkirk Wheel and then onto Kelpies. Nothing is straight forward. I feel like I spend hours and hours just trying to figure out the routes so I know how to do this.
Thank you for thinking of looking at Facebook, I never thought of that. Appreciate your reply

Posted by
3214 posts


I am a bit shamefaced to admit that I went there on a tour bus from my home in Cumbria, when we were still deep in Covid. It was easiest and I knew that we were heavily social distanced on the bus as the company was only running buses to 1/4 capacity, and at the wheel the boats also were then running to very reduced capacity.
It was actually my first trip out of the county after however many lockdowns we had had so was important to me to be in a near bubble.

However It is very difficult to work out the right route for what should be and used to be a simple journey. It is made far worse by the fact that even Traveline Scotland do not have it right.
The Company who run the local buses are called McGills East Scotland [McGills are a company from Inverclyde, west of Glasgow and this was a huge expansion for them]. They took over from First Bus [cited by Visit Scotland] when First pulled out of the area but McGills are trading as Midland Bluebird [the name used on Traveline Scotland] and Eastern Scottish]. That is because those are the historical names used in the area long before First Bus.
Also First Bus had closed the route to The Helix (which is where the car park for the Kelpies is, you simply have to know that) before depot closure, so you now use a suburban route. Oddly that route gets you closer, than if you went to the Car Park.

So to directly answer your question- this is the area bus map-
On a nice day you can walk along the Canal between the two.
But on the bus you can go to either Falkirk Grahamston station or Falkirk High Station.
From the map you can see that from Grahamston it's a short walk into the Town Centre for both routes. From High it's an even shorter route to a stop on both routes.
The wee dots on the map mark bus stops.
This is the route 2 timetable-
This is the route 6 timetable-
A Falkirk Zone day bus ticket is £5.35
You can also get to Falkirk from Edinburgh on McGills X38, from Stirling on the 38 and from Glasgow on the X37. System wide day tickets are £12.60
Sorry if this is a long winded reply.

Posted by
3214 posts

By the way I apologise to Shelley and to others that a clear cut answer to a simple question has not been given on several previous occasions.

Posted by
367 posts

Thank you I'll look at the bus routes but I still do think that a train from Waverly would be a good quick way to get there, unless, it's faster to ride the buses, since we'd have to walk so far... more research. ha ha. I'll look up the links you provided. Thank you.
You are way more knowledgeable about the area than we are.

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi, Shelley,

Just to be clear, the train from Edinburgh Waverley does not go directly to the Wheel or the Kelpies. It only goes to one of the two main Falkirk train stations - Falkirk Main or Falkirk Grahamston. I would highly recommend that you take a taxi from the train station to the Wheel, another taxi to the Kelpies, and a third taxi back to the train station. It won't cost that much more than taking the bus, and it will avoid a lot of confusion, and possibly getting lost trying to find the bus stops from the train station. There is also a chance that your taxi drivers will be able to provide you with a wealth of local knowledge. Additionally, the number 2 bus drops you off about a ten minute walk from the Kelpies, so you're saving 20 minutes of walking.

If you are considering taking the bus from Edinburgh to Falkirk, then transferring to one of the local buses, the train from Waverley to Falkirk takes about 30 to 34 minutes; the bus from the Elder Street bus station takes well over an hour.

I hope that that is a reasonable solution, and that you truly enjoy your visit to Falkirk.

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
3214 posts

By the way the bus from Edinburgh starts from below Calton Hill, so goes straight along Princes Street, it does not call at Edinburgh Bus Station (I'm not sure why Auchterless thinks it does). I have never heard Edinburgh Bus and Coach Station called Elder Street Bus Station (in 40 years of using it), and that is not the way most people would access the station- you enter from St Andrew's Square.
The bus calls at stop PM which is just at the top and slightly right of Waverley Steps (from the station) and also at Haymarket Station.
It's also fair to say that 'confusion' to find the stops is overstating things- everyone has google maps on their phones now, it is not by any means a long transfer at either station (you can blow the maps on the online timetables right up and even take it to street view), and the transfer between buses is at the same stop over a long section of route.
I only included the bus from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling as a point of reference (as this question gets asked quite a lot).
Falkirk High trains are those from Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street on the main line, those to Falkirk Grahamston are those to Dunblane via Stirling.
It is actually fair to say that you come out of Falkirk High Station and are literally straight onto the Union Canal towpath which by definition takes you straight to the wheel along the Union Canal, in around 2.5 miles- see this link-

Under the original cycling route it is 4.15 miles along the Forth and Clyde Canal (the lower of the 2 canals which the wheel links) to the Kelpies (which also by definition are on the canal, which then extends a mile or so beyond The Kelpies to enter the said Forth).
It is possible, and I have done it (walking) to walk or cycle along the Canal, all the way from Edinburgh (or way west of Glasgow) if you have the time, which I have done, in the days before the wheel had been built. I actually saw the wheel at various times in the build process. That was part of a little project to walk the whole c2000 miles or so of the active Canal system of the United Kingdom, and many closed/abandoned ones.

Posted by
3214 posts

PS- I am next in Edinburgh for the opening of the Tram extension in 2 or 3 months time (and something way off the Tourist Trail in east Edinburgh on the same visit) and will double check, on site, the name of Edinburgh Bus and Coach Station and will eat humble pie if I have always called it the wrong name.
I might even try out Ember Bus- the electric inter city coach service to Dundee- on that visit.

Posted by
367 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions. I think I had researched and felt that if our train goes to Falkirk High then we could walk along the canal. That would probably be a nice walk anyway. We will have to discuss how necessary it is to see the Kelpies. It all just sounds very complicated. We mainly wanted to see the Falkirk wheel. These Bikes were supposed to help us out but they don't seem to exist. So, we need to look for trains going to Glasgow and get off at Falkirk High. That's pretty simple.

Thank you all.

Posted by
3214 posts

The definitive response to Shelley's question is that Forth Bikes have now formally ceased trading as of a few days ago- see this newspaper article .

This will also affect similar schemes which they ran in Fort William, Inverness and Edinburgh.

It may have taken a while to resolve this query, but sometimes that is just the nature of the beast.

Posted by
414 posts

Regarding train transportation from Edinburgh to The Kelpies: we went to Falkirk Grahamston station. There were no waiting taxis, so we called for one (you could arrange this in advance). It took less than ten minutes to get to The Kelpies. Then another phone call on our walk back to the car park and a taxi took us back to the station. I'm sure it would be easy to include a ride to the Falkirk Wheel.
Edit: The taxi fare was between £6 and £7 each way.

Be sure to take the guided tour of The Kelpies, which takes you inside one of these beautiful sculptures!