Over 1,000 bikes have been given a spruce up by the Blyth Active Travel Town project.
The bicycles, formerly languishing in sheds and garages in the area, were given the facelift in an effort to encourage pople to chose to travel by bike or on foot for everyday local journeys. To that end the project – which began last summer – has been working with 12 schools in the area and local businesses, fixing and checking bikes.
The initiative is being operated by Sustrans and Northumberland County Council, with cycle loan programmes, cycle repairs and MOTs, a bicycle users group, adult cycle proficiency sessions and staff events.
“People have been getting rusty, cobwebbed bikes out of the shed, and re-discovering ones given as past Christmas presents, and we’ve been making them all ship-shape and ready for use again,” explained Mark Curr, Sustrans’ project coordinator.
“It’s great that there are 1,000 bikes back on the road and that even the cold weather isn’t stopping people trying to be more active. This isn’t about taking up cycling for sport, but just trying those everyday trips to school, work or the shops, without always resorting to the car. It’s amazing how many really short journeys we do in cars when we could walk or cycle them."
Homes for Northumberland’s David Craig owns the 1,000th bike made roadworthy by the scheme: “The Blyth Active Travel Town project has enabled me to get back on the road quick-smart. Mark and Richard were able to quickly fix my bike and have been able to offer ongoing support for me and my colleagues. Get them into your work place to weave their bike-magic.”
Morpeth Primary School is one of the schools taking part in the project. Headteacher Mike Bell enthused: “Not only are the children taking part but there is a marked increase in the number of parents also cycling. The scheme has really caught on and even more children than the high percentage that normally cycle have been inspired to cycle.”
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