THE DUBLIN Bikes scheme will be stepped up a gear as additional bike stations will treble the size of the area currently covered.
Hundreds more bike stations will be introduced across the capital as far north as Whitehall, south to Rathgar and west to Drimnagh over the next three years.
The number of bikes will jump from 500 to 1,500 and bike stands from 44 to 100.
By the end of 2012, the free bikes will available out towards the Phoenix Park in the west and in the east to Ringsend.
And over the next five years, there are plans to increase the number of bikes to 5,000 at 300 stands right across Dublin.
The project is one of the most successful city bikes schemes in the world and a recent grant of €500,000 from the National Transport Authority will fund the next phase.
The design and implementation works of the expansion into the Docklands and Heuston Quarter was funded by this latest grant, which was announced in February, instead of the funding originally provided by the advertising company JC Deceaux.
The firm won the contract to provide the free bikes in return for advertising space in the city.
Approximately 70,000 subscribers have signed up to use the bikes since they began to operate in September 2009.
Over 3.2 million journeys have been taken on Dublin Bikes since its inception.
There is an average of 1,485 long-term subscribers per station.
The company said that the average journey time is 13 minutes and 97pc of rentals are free as they are under the 30- minute threshold.
City councillors and interested parties will be consulted about the location of the new sites.
Full details of the next phase of the plan will be unveiled in September.
And separately it was revealed a new state-of-the-art cycle path along the Grand Canal has been taken up by 4,000 cyclists every day -- double the number last year.
The 3.6km stretch of road from Portobello to Sheriff Street will now be extended right out to the city boundaries.