A scheme to encourage more people in West Yorkshire to take advantage of opportunities to get involved in cycling has seen hundreds of local people getting back on their bikes.
13 organisations across West Yorkshire have taken part in this year’s Big Bike Revival which helped local people fix up their bikes ready for a summer of cycling.
The scheme – delivered by Cycling UK in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority in our region – supports and encourages cycling hubs and organisations to provide bike maintenance workshops and advice so that they can ride away with working bike and have the skills to fix and look after their bikes.
Many organisations taking part went the extra mile by providing bonus activities and offers such as led rides, learn to ride sessions, bike security and tips and advice on where to cycle in and around their local area. Happy Days Cycles in Sowerby Bridge offered free bike hire, enabling people to explore the National Cycle Network Route 66 in the Calder Valley and Experience Community CIC offered rambles on specialist mountain trikes and hand-cycles in scenic areas.
The Capital of Cycling in Bradford meanwhile adopted a creative approach by hosting art activities including bike decorating and dressing a Peshawar truck used to ferry goods between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Lucky, a father of three who originates from the Congo, heard about the availability of cycles for refugees and asylum seekers. He went along to a Big Bike Revival event at The Capital of Cycling, Bradford and came away with bikes for all his children. He said: “Coming to this place I feel like I’ve struck gold”. The family now enjoy playing out on their bikes near to their home in Bradford and can access ongoing support from The Bradford Bikery and The Capital of Cycling through their “Cycling to Sanctuary” initiative.
Ian Richardson, Director of Cycling at Cycling UK said:
“The Big Bike Revival has been a fantastic success across West Yorkshire this year. A total of 105 dedicated events attracted over 2000 people thanks to an amazing collaboration between Cycling UK, social enterprise, and local authority partners.
The idea of the Big Bike Revival is a really simple one; it provides opportunities for people to get their bikes fixed for free. It has also enabled people to improve their confidence, discover new cycle routes in their local area and above all, have fun on their bike. We hope that everyone who has been inspired by the Big Bike Revival will go on to love cycling every day and make use of the excellent cycling facilities and services being provided by West Yorkshire Combined Authority.”
Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival is just one project of many that makes cycling accessible to many people in West Yorkshire.
With the support of Cycling UK, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect scheme has overseen a community clubs project helping cycle groups and volunteers provide access to bikes, cycle training and leisure rides in their own communities. The aim of these clubs to encourage local people to improve their physical and mental health, learn new skills, build confidence and feel part of a stronger community.
100 people have recently completed the first 12-week Cycle4Health programme run by West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect project this year. The programme is delivered by Cycling UK and provides cycle training to help people overcome health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, injuries and to improve mental health.
“West Yorkshire Combined Authority will continue its partnership with Cycling UK and looks forward to working on many more community cycling projects in the future. It’s important to us that we engage with communities and give them the support and skills they need to live healthy and active lives. Helping local people to cycle more benefits us all, whether that be relief on our local health services, reduced congestion on our road networks or improved air quality. It all contributes to making West Yorkshire a healthier and more enjoyable place to work, live and learn.”