Monday 6 June marks the start of Bike Week, the UK’s biggest week for cycling. Preston Pedals, a local organisation that has been set up to encourage more people from Preston to get on their bikes, is celebrating with a special, free launch event on Avenham Park on Sunday 12 June 2022. We went to find out more.Advertisement
Preston Pedals was set up by Climate Action Preston, a grassroots group that is affiliated with Friends of the Earth and undertakes environmental and social justice activities.
“We’re funded by the National Lottery Together for the Planet grant to pilot a community ‘cycle hub’ in Preston to actively promote cycling for everyday journeys,” said Julie Ridley, Project Manager of Preston Pedals. “The idea to focus on increasing bike use came about when we learned that only 2% of journeys in Preston are by bike, which Friends of the Earth say needs to increase to 32%.”
“Additionally, 15 million bikes in the UK end up in landfill each year – waste that can become part of the solution for tackling climate change. There are inequalities in access to bikes even though having a bike could be life-changing for someone who can use it to get to college, work, get to appointments, or for keeping connected with friends. There’s lots of local talent to build on and interest in doing something to increase cycling.”
Preston Pedals’ activities focus on recycling/reusing donated bikes to decrease waste as well as upskilling people in repairing and maintaining bikes; providing free bikes for everyday use to people on low incomes; and, increasing the confidence and safety skills of non-cyclists to encourage cycling. There are four elements to the project;
“We will be holding a launch event which is open to everyone on Sunday 12 June on Avenham Park between 12pm to 4pm,” said Julie. “At the event, we hope to engage people in imagining how Preston could look if everyone cycled, how much quieter it could be, how much cleaner it could be, and how much happier people could be. “
“There will be cycle mechanics on hand to offer minor bike tweaks, a smoothie bike, free vegan food and snacks, and information about Preston Pedals bike hub. We’ll also be gathering people’s ideas and hope people will share their experiences of cycling in Preston.”
In the coming months, Preston Pedals will be offering bike repair workshops in the community.
“All of our activities including the bike repair workshops are targeted to meet needs in disadvantaged areas where cycling may be less popular so that non-cyclists and low-income groups benefit most.”
“We are working with community centres around Preston to offer bike repair workshops in different communities but we could still do with some support, so if anyone can offer a venue that we could use as a base that would be great.”
“A skilled bike mechanic will be offering ten two-hour sessions of basic bike maintenance to small groups of up to 6 people. These will be in different community venues. This is so that more people know how to change an inner tube, fix that annoying puncture that has meant the bike has sat unused in the shed/garage for ages, teach people how to check their bike over and fix minor issues, and know when to get it into to be repaired.”
Preston Pedals at the Park 2022 takes place with Friends of the Guild Wheel, Pedal Away/Wheels for All, and Sustrans on Sunday 12 June from 12pm to 4pm in Avenham Park, Preston.
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