Bike Share Toronto will offer free rides on Wednesdays in July as the city-owned service seeks to recruit new users and get closer to its ambitious target of one million rides in 2017.

The promotion, dubbed ‘Free Ride Wednesdays,’ will allow users of the service to check out a bike for increments of up to 30 minutes free of charge.

If the user needs a bike for more than 30 minutes they can either pay a fee, or check out another bike immediately after returning their first bike.

The promotion is being offered in conjunction with Canada 150 celebrations but Mayor Tory says it is mostly about promoted the growing service.

“This is about thanking Toronto residents for their support of the bike share program so far and getting more Torontonians to discover how fun it can be to cycle around the city and use that as a way to get around,” Tory said in making the announcement on Wednesday. “Riding a bike is part of a healthy and active lifestyle but it is also very much a part of the future of transportation in the city.”

Bike Share Toronto’s membership has been growing progressively since the service was taken over by the Toronto Parking Authority upon its previous owner declaring bankruptcy four years ago.

The service now has 9,000 active users and on Wednesday it set a record for rides in a single day when its bikes were checked out 6,491 times.

The footprint of the service has also grown with 2,000 bikes now spread across 200 stations in an area bounded by Dundas West Station in the west, Main Street in the east, St. Clair Avenue in the north and Lake Ontario in the south.

Speaking with reporters, Tory said that Bike Share Toronto represents one of several solutions going forward to “getting people around the city better and doing it in a way that doesn’t contribute to the congestion problem we have now.”