I regularly cycle to Bridgtown every few weeks. Having rode my fixie and got used to riding harder for the last few weeks I went for it today on my geared bike and managed to get there ten whole minutes quicker than the last time I went. I met a very talented friend and as my bike is left on the street within view I just took a cheap cable lock for it. Stupidly I picked up the wrong lock so didn’t have the key for it and broke my golden rule of always keeping my lock locked when not in use so that if you forget your key you don’t get into a pickle.
So when the inevitable happened my friend showed some skills from a possible misspent youth and managed to pick the lock for me in seconds with a bobby pin. Perhaps we should include this as an essential tool in our upcoming urban maintenance demonstrations for Lichfield Re:Cycle? Or perhaps just the importance of getting a decent lock or locks? Just this week I heard of a bike being pinched from Lichfield City train station.
As I left Bridgtown I found part of the reason why I had got there so quick, a stiff breeze in my face that I hadn’t noticed when it was on my back. Riding with a free wheel on such an up and down route is easier when you take speed from the downs into the ups. I am determined to try it fixed wheel at some point this year when I have got a bit more stamina. There are a few good long drags including up Abnalls.
On the way back I decided to close the gates behind me on the short access only section through Spade Green. The person who has been copying me into emails in the campaign to get the route improved and the restrictions enforced by police action has been encouraging people to use the gates for the purpose they were installed for. Apparently abuse is common when you do, but no one came while I did them, though they would have only been closed for a couple of minutes at either end as I was passed both ways soon after closing them. The mechanism on the one at the Lichfield end has been broken so just a loop of string holds it closed.
As the Lichfield Re:Cycle project develops it’s fascinating to see how it meets the needs of different people. This week we have worked with a young person in Whittington who was walking into Lichfield and literally wearing out his shoes to save the £4.20 bus fare. We got him sorted with a bike and one of our trustees donated a track pump. We got some lights and a lock from the local PCSO and he was sorted. As we pulled away from his house after dropping it off he hopped on the bike and was away. I’ve spotted it locked up in town twice since and posted a photo on the #30daysofbiking page above.
Also this week we helped Ben and Rebecca by loaning them bikes for the Easter holiday. They are visiting from America and will be back again in the summer. Mum cycles and we will be looking for a large framed bike for Dad too so they can cycle together. We also had some helmets to loan them.
Our volunteers went to Curborough Community Centre last Tuesday and there they met two people whose children will hopefully be getting bikes through the project to replace ones that they have outgrown. The core of the project is finding the right bike for each person, making sure they are as confident and capable of riding and maintaining it as possible and that income is not a barrier to giving cycling a go. I think it is something that has got a lot of potential.
Last night the Lichfield Re:Cycle project finished the last of four Tuesday night sessions in March with the 5th Lichfield Scouts, helping them to work towards their Cyclist Activity Badge.
Splitting the group in two we we did two sessions with each. The first was looking at basic bike maintenance and adjustments including each of the scouts bikes getting a good check over with plenty of minor repairs done. The other session was a practical one in the car park practicing some skills and playing some fun games. We also covered helmets and lights while outside in the dark.
As well as skill sharing and demonstrations, the other main part of the project are the donated bikes we receive that volunteers service and repair before they go out on free, long term loan to people who will use them.
Scout leader Matt was in need of a bike to be able to complete the ride and we were also able to give a bike to Scout Ross as well.
When the nights get lighter we will go back and do some more confidence building around cycling together. To achieve the award the group need to do a 30k off road ride and we will be giving them advice on route planning as well. Thank you to the seven volunteers who came out to do the four sessions and to the 5th Lichfield Scouts for the very generous donation of £40 from troop funds to the project and letter of thanks signed by all the Scouts.
Today is the first day of the annual 30 days of biking pledge that thousands of people across the globe take. You’ve still got time to make the pledge here. All you need to do is try to use your bike each day for the month of April. I did it last year for the first time and will post some more photos of things I get up to this year. I might not post every day but I will try and ride every day. It is a habit that is worth picking up.
This Sunday morning (29th March) is the first Cycle Rides For All ride of 2015. The first of the season is always a gentle opener. This one is just 3.5 miles in a circular loop from Beacon Park. Meet at 11am by the Pavilion in the park, opposite side of the lake from the playground. Your bike will get a safety check from Freedom Cycles and the trained volunteers will take you round the route. Totally free and very friendly especially for families. All welcome.
More details can be found here.
Liked these hefty chains on the racks at Lichfield City train station today. Obviously left there for another day to save them weighing the rider down on the way home. There was another bike that was well secured with two D Locks and three chains locking everything down. If you rely on your bike to get you about that’s one may to make sure it’s going to be there when you get back.
Last years Lichfield Jolly turned out such fun we may as well do it again. Originally conceived as a bit of a laugh with Ian from Vickers Bicycle Company it ended up as a really good event. You can see photos from the day here.
We had a wonderful mix of bikes, people and families. It finished up in the beer garden and judging by the comments and the smiles it will be worth doing again. So, Sunday 28th June 2015 meeting at Market Square in Lichfield at 4:30 (for a 5.00 start?) seems like the plan. We will work out a 3 to 5 mile ride through and round the city centre and end up at Prince Ruperts Mount.
More details nearer the time (Facebook page here) and I managed to pick up something in town the other day that might just do the job for an outfit.