Bike Week aims to fettle record number of bikes

Team Green Britain Bike Week will feature ‘Britain’s Biggest Bike Fix’, an attempt to fix as many bikes as possible in a week.

Bike shops and home mechanics will be asked to supply records of the bikes fixed during this year’s Bike Week, 18-26th June.

Chris Compton of Compton Cycles said: “As an independent business we are facing increasing competition from some of the bigger players and so we’re supporting ‘Britain’s Biggest Bike Fix’ to benefit from national and local publicity, a profile on the Team Green Britain Bike Week website and the opportunity it gives us to have face to face contact with potential new customers, which we know will drive business growth in the longer term.”

Team Green Britain Bike Week is this year funded by a mixture of bike industry and corporate support. The industry doubled its financial contribution via the Bike Hub levy fund and EDF Energy, Britain’s largest producer of low carbon electricity, has confirmed a second year of sponsorship.

Phillip Darnton, deputy president of the Bicycle Association said: “Britain’s Biggest Bike Fix aims to help everyone, from families and people who have never cycled before, as well as those who need an incentive to cycle to work, and, of course, seasoned cyclists. Hopping on a bike not only helps you get fit, it can be really convenient and since there’s no fuel to buy, it can help you save money too.

“The cycle industry has financially supported Bike Week since 2004, and with some other sources of funding this year being reduced or withdrawn, the cycle industry, through Bike Hub, has more than doubled its contribution to this important annual national event.”

Cameron Hughes, Head of Brand, EDF Energy, said: “Following the success of last year’s inaugural Team Green Britain Bike Week, EDF Energy is hoping that this year’s event can go even further in promoting low carbon transport to a wide audience. As the first sustainability partner of London 2012 we aim to get people back on their bikes before the Olympic Games arrive, helping them to reduce their carbon footprint, save money and get fitter in the process.”

National Trust to organise bicycle rides and events from its properties

The National Trust has announced a major shift in its focus as it aims to help more people enjoy to outdoors and get closer to nature by focusing on cycling as well as walking and camping.

The charity will promote a range of activities that take place on the land it looks after, including walking, mountain biking, kayaking, surfing and camping, with over a thousand summer events aimed at helping children get closer to nature.

Fiona Reynolds, director-general of the National Trust, said: “For too long it’s felt that outdoor spaces have been the Trust’s best kept secret. We want to play our part in helping to reconnect the nation with outdoor spaces, whether in the Lake District or a local park.

“Over 100 years ago one of the Trust’s founders, Octavia Hill, argued that quiet, air and exercise, together with the sight of sky and growing things, were human needs common to all people.

“Over a century later we still don’t seem to value enough the physical and spiritual refreshment we get from our surroundings.”

During 2011 the National Trust will organised series of seven cycling challenge rides at Trust places from Pembrokeshire to Cambridgeshire.

In July, the Trust’s first ever cycling festival will take place at more than twenty places throughout the country including an evening community bike ride at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire and a kids’ On Your Bike weekend at Scotney Castle in Kent.

Ride your bike to beat the blues

Beat the most depressing day of the year with a bicycle ride. Monday 24th January has been labelled ‘Blue Monday’ because of post-Christmas debts, settling back to work after the festive break, bad weather, broken New Year’s resolutions, and rising fuel costs.

That last one can be blown out of the water by cycling instead of driving. ‘Blue Monday’ might be unscientific tosh* but anything that makes us stop and think about how to enrich our lives has got to be a good thing. And cycling can improve your health and well-being in many ways.

‘Blue Monday’ was devised in 2006 as PR tool to help sell feel-better products and overseas travel. A supposedly mathematical formula to arrive at the unhappiest day of the year was created by motivation maven Dr Cliff Arnall, formerly a post graduate tutor at the Medical and Dental School of Cardiff University.

Apparently, the best way to get over the January blues is to have some fun, start a new hobby or do something you have been putting off for some time. Cycling fits the bill, and is a practical pleasure that can last a lifetime.

According to, a website created to promote the Mental Health Foundation, there are a number of things to help you beat the blues. Here’s a few of them, and how cycling can help.

“Try something new”
Not been cycling for a while, or ever? Here’s an article on why taking up cycling could be right up your street.

“Get physical”
Cycling is excellent exercise and a fat-buster to boot. Eat a cream cake with no guilt: ride away the sin.

“Contact a friend or relative”
Go on a bike ride with your kids or hook up with some other family members or friends. Cycling can be a very sociable activity. Cycling is mobility and recreation rolled into one. Children’s bikes have never been better, and getting out there and riding is a super way to keep fit, have fun and bond.

“Take a break”
Get yourself off on a cycle holiday. Or, closer to home, explore somewhere new by riding there. Not sure how to find a cycle-friendly route to your chosen destination? Use an online journey planner such as the one from Got a smartphone? Take the Cyclestreets journey planner with you in your pocket: there’s a Bike Hub journey planner app for iPhones and Android handsets.

“Help the planet”
Cycling is good for you, good for your finances (even the most expensive bicycle is cheap compared to buying and running a car, and there’s no duty escalator on cornflakes), and good for the environment, too.

And it’s not just on the emissions front that bicycles win hands down. Bicycles are also quiet, clean, and extremely space efficient. Electric cars are said to be good for the planet too but a coal-powered car still takes up a lot of room to park and move around.

“Pamper yourself”
Get a facial for free by taking off your front mudguards. If you’re not in Morocco at the time and so don’t have access to rhassoul-covered trails and don’t fancy schlepping to Israel for some Dead Sea mineral riding, any mud will do. Let it dry and try not to smile (which is tough, because riding through muddy puddles like a kid again is a lot of fun).

Or how about pampering your bicycle instead? Splash out for a spa treatment for your loved one: your local bike shop will have a wide range of rejuvenation options, from loving application of lube to the full works, an all-over spritz to make your bicycle sparkle and purr.

“Plan something new”
Looking forward to something new or different can be uplifting and refreshing. If you haven’t been on a bike for donkeys’ years you’ll get a real buzz out of getting back in the saddle.

“Share your thoughts”
A problem shared is a problem halved. Want to start cycling but not sure what bike to get or who to ride with? Ask questions on the new BikeHub forum. It’s beginner-friendly.

* “These equations are scientifically uninformative…corrosive, meaningless, empty…[and they are] bogus nonsense that serve only to…undermine science,” said ‘Bad Science’ author Ben Goldacre in 2006.

British Cycling to plug gender gap with £1m

Sport England has awarded British Cycling with £992,159 of National Lottery funding to get more women cycling.

British Cycling is to create the National Women’s Cycling Network to help women of all ages and ability to organise fun, recreational group bike rides for other women in their local area.

Over the next three years, 1,000 female cycling champions will be trained to become ride leaders, equipped with the information and know-how to organise group rides on local routes – planned and mapped by them. The programme will draw inspiration from the success of Britain’s top women elite cyclists and will aim to reach women in every local authority in England. Its long-term aim will be to encourage 20,000 women to cycle at least once a week.

It’s one of 20 projects backed as part of Sport England’s £10 million Active Women campaign to tackle the gender gap in sport. It aims to encourage women with children and those from disadvantaged communities to play more sport as part of the drive to deliver a mass participation legacy from London 2012.

Last month, new Sport England figures revealed the size of the gender gap in sport. At present, one in eight (2.761 million) women regularly play sport in England. Whilst this has increased significantly in the past five years, it still trails behind men’s participation, with one in five (4.176 million) taking part.

Over the past two years, the number of women cycling once a week has decreased despite an overall increase in cycling participation.

The National Women’s Cycling Network will be delivered by British Cycling, the national governing body for cycle sport. Ian Drake, British Cycling’s Chief Executive, said:

“We are delighted that Sport England has awarded us funding to roll out this ambitious project designed to get more women on their bikes. We have had significant success in increasing participation in cycling through Sky Ride, and we will take our experience in this area to launch a bespoke programme for women that will be delivered by women. Our female athletes are the best in the world and we want to use that as an inspiration to attract thousands more women to our sport.”

Snowfall allows kids to reclaim the streets

Snow riding 1

Heavy snowfall across much of the UK has shown how our streets could be very different places to live, points out Sustrans.

Snow has brought Britain to a standstill. Motorised Britain, that is. Sledging, walking and cycling Britain are having a whale of a time!

With many motorised vehicles immobile or travelling much slower (and usually more carefully) than usual due to the snow, children have had the chance to claim back their streets for play and more people are walking to school and work rather than relying on their cars.

Those with studded bicycle tyres – or amazing balance – are also cycling to work and school.

With many cars entombed under snow, there are a lot less cars on the roads of Britain. Unploughed and ungritted side streets are becoming safe for children again. While some children may be receiving sprains and knocks from sledging and from slips, this is nothing compared to the serious injuries and deaths that are allowed to happen in ‘normal’ conditions.

The snowscape reminds us there are different ways to get about. And this what Sustrans has been trying to do with its ‘Quality Streets’ campaign, launched last month.

Pre-snow, this called for 20mph speed limits in residential streets across the UK.

Snow riding 3

Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans’ CEO said: “Snow is a very real demonstration of how, when cars are slowed right down or taken off the roads completely, children take the opportunity to play freely outdoors, neighbours socialise, and people connect with their surroundings more. This is precisely the vision we have for Quality Streets.

“Too many residential streets are clogged by traffic when they could be safe public spaces where children can play safely outside their front doors and travel independently. The Government announced last week that it plans to measure UK quality of life and well-being in 2012, and having streets that are made for people to live in rather than traffic to drive through, could have a significantly positive impact on that.”