The opportunity for community members to try an electric bike with active support and advice has now resumed after the lifting of lockdown restrictions. You may have seen small groups of cyclists in hi-vis vests, circulating around the streets of Gatehouse, stopping, starting and signalling. This is most probably Annick and her groups of intrepid cyclists, gaining skills and confidence and practicing manoeuvres. The initiative, called I Bike Communities, helps more adults get active through cycling and explore the local cycle routes and, in particular, to cut down on the 1-5 mile car journeys that are one of the biggest contributors to pollution. The project is funded by Sustrans – the charity that makes it easier for people to walk and cycle for everyday journeys.
Thanks to the kind offer of cycle storage at the Gatehouse Community Centre, we have a perfect place to start the cycling journey. Sessions usually begin with a 1:1, going over the basics of riding a bike; setting off, braking, negotiating turns and the efficient use of gears. This can take as many sessions as the participant needs, progressing to gain confidence and understanding of safe cycling on roads and in traffic.
Sustrans research shows that some of the barriers to choosing cycling for smaller journeys are perceptions of road safety, lack of confidence, diminished bike ownership, and not having ridden for a time. There are still many adults who have never had the opportunity to learn to ride a bike. The I Bike Communities project seeks to address these inequalities by offering opportunities to learn to ride, improve bike skills, increase bike ownership and to gain confidence riding on roads and in traffic. Working alongside Wheels of Fleet enables bike ownership to become more accessible to all.
Sustrans is the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle. We connect people and places, create liveable neighbourhoods, transform the school run and deliver a happier, healthier commute. Join us on our journey. www.sustrans.org.uk