THEY are the three lucky winners of a year’s subscription to an innovative bike scheme.

Thanks to the Daily Echo and YoBikes the keen cyclists will be zipping around the city on their bright yellow bikes for the next 12 months – without paying a penny.

Andrew Basing, Nikki Cooper and Ken Baker were picked from dozens of entries to our competition, when we asked: How much does a YoBike cost to hire per hour?

The answer is just £1 and they have won a year’s worth of cycling worth £39.

Andy, 49, a sales assistant from the city centre was thrilled to win after not only having his own bike stolen last year but also having been knocked off his bike just months before that.

He said: “But the YoBikes are such a positive thing for the city.

“You see so many miserable things around the city centre like homelessness it’s about time we had something good.

“And air pollution is appalling in Southampton so the more people are encouraged to ride bikes the better.”

Nikki Cooper, 51, works in the travel department at Brockenhurst College and said she will be gifting her prize to her daughter.

She said: “She lives down by the docks and works in Ikea so it’s perfect for her. I think I’ll be using it a bit as well though – I’d like to have a go anyway.”

The subscription entitles the rider to two free hours a day - and if you need the bike for more then it’s £1 an hour.

It’s perfect for Ken Baker, 57, who works for Nuffield Hospitals as a process technician.

Already a keen cyclist the Midanbury resident says he’ll be using the YoBikes for one very specific purpose – cycling to the Saints’ home games. He said: “It means I can have a pint afterwards now. It’s great.”

Managing the project is Dave Munday of the Cycle Hub on Shirley Road. His team of mechanics have been wheeling out the aluminium bikes at a rate of knots across the city as more and more people download the free app. He said: “We’re definitely on schedule and have got 200 out across the city already.

“We’ve had a really good take up with students, especially from Solent and can see where they are being docked.

“We’ve only had to take back three for repair so far and they were all fixable. The next 100 will be out by mid October and we’ll start going east to the other side of the Itchen”

Mechanics from charity repair organisation Monty’s Bike Hub are being trained up and paid to deal with damaged or broken bikes and Mr Munday is already in talks with ABP, Southampton hospitals and other big companies to make it easier for employees to ride the YoBikes to work.