Half term long term loan

Half term last week so extra busy with the Lichfield Re:Cycle project. Quite a few kids bikes coming and going, people trading in for the next size up generally. It can be hard to shell out for something when you know it won’t probably last long but the benefits of having the right size bike can be immense. At Curborough Community Centre this week we were able to get Dan sorted with his first bike without stabilisers and Jessica with a small framed adult mountain bike. Read about it here.

Also there was Chris, who happens to be the Canon Verger at the Cathedral. He had been given a decent bike (below, after we had finished with it) in a pretty sorry state and had rode there with almost no air in the tyres. We arranged to collect and service the bike and returned it the next day. Chris said he was keen to learn more about maintaining it and now we had got it up and running properly he would use the bike for shopping and getting around.


We got a pair of bikes sorted for Deirdre and Christine. They were extremely excited to receive them, we gave them a demonstration of how to use the gears as they have not ridden a bike for a few years and they were riding up and down the garden in their slippers before we had left. They want to get out every day on them when possible for fun, fitness and more fun. Thank you to them for the card of appreciation and the donation they made to the project.


We helped John and Cordelia too, they were asking on Freecycle for a bike for John to help him recover after his replacement knee operation. We responded and on speaking with Cordelia suggested that she might like to ride with John. She chose a classic old english ladies framed single speed bicycle, which she bought some new tyres for as the originals were perished. She is looking forward to riding with John who is very pleased with his lightweight, aluminium, 21 speed, Giant mountain bike that was modified with other parts to suit his dimensions so that it will be a comfortable ride while on his ‘road to recovery’ (joke supplied by a volunteer – please do not complain to this site!)


Elsewhere we went back to the Police station at Frog Lane to collect some more unclaimed lost and stolen bikes from their stores. Some of them will be turned round but quite a few have had a bit of a tough time and will be stripped for parts and spares. We work with A1 Vehicle Rentals, a local hire firm who are letting us use one of their vans for free to collect large donations.


Then yesterday a new record, from request to collection in less than an hour. A family who we have worked with phoned up to ask if we might have a bike for a family they knew whose daughter had outgrown her old bike. We looked in our stock and saw there was a suitable bike close by. Izzy came with her Mom and tested it out, cycling home with it. She was on the Cycle Rides For All today on it as well. That’s how we roll.



Tour de Lichfield this Sunday


The May Cycle Rides For All takes place this Sunday. These free rides are run by volunteers with the support of Freedom Cycles and Lichfield District Council and are now in their sixth year. The volunteers add a new ride each year and instead of leaving the city we decided to try and find a route that visited some of the great parks we have in Lichfield. The 9 mile trip takes in Shortbutts Park, Darnford Park, Netherstowe and finishes up in Beacon Park. Meet at Freedom Cycles by the bus station at 10am this Sunday morning.

Lichfield Re:Cycle – next size up

Lichfield Re:Cycle volunteers were at Curborough Community Centre in Lichfield this morning. A busy couple of hours. First of all Dan and his Mom Christine brought in his old bike to exchange for a bigger one (without stabilisers – go Dan!) for as long as he wants it, but lets face it kids this age go through a bike this size in a couple of seasons. The thing with our project is that next year he can swap it back for a suitable bike the next size up.


We were also able to get the next size bike sorted for Jessica. Her feet were flat on the floor on her old bike and this small framed ladies mountain bike is perfect for urban riding.


Also today we had a request for a lady with a bad back who is looking for a bike with some front suspension and three more kids looking for bikes. One of them will be getting Dans old bike this evening once we’ve given it a check over.


This Friday we will be giving people the opportunity to practice riding together on the roads around where they live. Our volunteers will happily come to you and take you on a ride round the block or further. If you think this might be of interest just get in touch.


Re:Cycle revival

Last Sunday Lichfield Re:Cycle held their ride & AGM to The Horse & Jockey in Lichfield. With over 30 members now, we have also elected 10 trustees to carry on the good work over the next twelve months, developing the project further and building on the great past few months we have had.


Next week there is a national event called The Big Bike Revival that is about getting unloved bikes back into use. Sounds just like what we have been doing. You can find details of the events nearest to you here.  There are things going on in Cannock run by Cycle-R and at Halfords in Burton. Luckily we had stuff planned for half term week anyway and you can catch some of our volunteers at Curborough Community Centre next Tuesday (26th May) between 10 and 12.


At our AGM we discussed doing more rides to encourage people to cycle safely together on the roads, so volunteers will also be available next Friday (29th May) offering to come to you and take you round the roads where you live or help you plan a good route to school or to the park. Just get in touch with Lichfield Re:Cycle and we will try and fit in as many people who want to take part that day or at another time.

A ditch in time


Passed through the section of NCN54 by Spade Green today. A ditch has been dug at the Burntwood end to allow water to drain from the path around the gate. After the heavy rain of the last few days it seems to be doing the job.

Talent matched

At the Lichfield Re:Cycle AGM this Sunday we will hopefully gather together many of the talented people who have given their time to get the project off the ground. The next and most important step is to make sure the project can grown sustainably and continue to build a library of bikes and expertise within the community. Time will tell if its legacy outlasts the megabucks projects up and down the road.


A couple more stories from this weeks goings on. With kids outgrowing bikes faster than weeds, Katie needed a bike to keep up with them and a new one for Alfie who was chuffed with the BMX (with obligatory low down seat, he insisted). All set now for trips together round town with brother George.


We work with organisations who refer people to use the project, the latest being Talent Match and one of their clients. We have given him a bike, pump and lights while Talent Match have contributed helmet and a waterproof hi viz jacket. Only the third time he has ever rode a bike and our volunteers have spent time building his confidence, route planning from home to work and to the train station for a longer trip in a couple of weeks. Seeing how an inexperienced novice rider fears the traffic on the road it has been interesting to view infrastructure in Lichfield afresh. With perseverance and support we know he can achieve what he wants.

As can Lichfield Re:Cycle, the support we have received from volunteers, donations and goodwill has been greatly appreciated. Thank you all.

A Major triumph

IMG_1703 - Copy

When I started this here blog thing a couple of years ago, one of the first events I was invited along to was the 8th annual Major Nichols memorial ride. I couldn’t make last years meet up but since then I have helped set up and run the Major Nichols website, an attempt to record and celebrate the life and work of the man who made around 3000 bike frames from his shop in West Bromwich and those who have rode them over the years. The known record of survivors is just over 100 frames with maybe as many more out there in sheds, garages or regular use but not known about. Hopefully having a website and a presence in search results will help find and document a few more, as well as the stories of those who rode them before they are lost. I have become a custodian of an MN myself, this was raced by Andy Hayes for Crown Cycles. I am not used to drop bars, toe clips or even gears but I will get there. There were over 20 MN’s on this years ride, a bumper turnout. More photos and a write up will appear on the Major Nichols website later in the week.


Trials of life


Happened to be going through town today and bumped into this group of lads from Burton, literally riding the walls by Speakers Corner on Dam Street. They had done the rocks by Aldi and were off to Beacon Park. They travel around looking for locations and basically having fun on bikes. Check this video they are in, made in Barcelona last year:

I said I would have a think about other spots they might not know in Lichfield for them to play with. The London bound platform at Lichfield Trent Valley springs to mind and Shortbutts Park has some nice features in it. Feel free to send in some suggestions.