Lichfield Recycler


The volunteers of Lichfield Re:Cycle have been working hard matching the fantastic donations to the growing list of people who have approached or been referred to us for assistance. Rest assured we will get round to you eventually but the demand is high at the moment. Here is one story from this week from volunteer Adam:

“I found a home for another bicycle yesterday, for Naheed who was riding a really tatty mountain bike, the brakes were non existent, cables rusted, calipers seized and out of 21 gears she had about three. The tyres were down to the canvas, with a big split in the sidewall and the front wheel was wobbling and had a spoke missing, not the best thing to transport your kid safely to nursery in a rear child carrier with!

She was using this as her get around town everyday transport, and was a very good case for Lichfield Re:Cycle to step in and help out. Naheed is now the proud owner of a bright blue Claud Butler that was donated to us for as long as she needs it. A nice strong bike with a very comfortable upright riding position, ideal for getting around town and doing the school run. We found a sidestand that fitted nicely, and one of our trustees gave her a very big chrome ‘Ding Dong’ bell to scare pedestrians with. She can now carry on riding with her boys to school. In the attached photo she was about to set off to collect her youngest from nursery with her older son on his bike. Naheed also donated to the project which was gratefully received.”


Families cycling together is one of the areas we want to be able to offer support and advice. We are working on another bike that will have one of the child seats we have been donated lately. During the holiday time we will be experimenting with the Bike Train, where some of our volunteers will cycle to pick up families and take them on a ride around the streets and area they live, giving them confidence to cycle together on the road and plan the best routes for them.

We will also be holding regular skill sharing demonstration sessions all over the district where the volunteers will turn up and be available for advice, small repairs and adjustments and to be able to show people how to maintain their own bikes. There is a page on the Lichfield Re:Cycle website with dates and locations that will be updated and added to regularly and more details will also be posted on our Facebook page.


Just today we have given this bike to Manon from France who has just started a month long internship with Faurecia at Fradley, walking there each day from Lichfield. She was happy to receive the bike and a lock for the duration of her stay here. Hopefully she will be able to explore the area a little better on two wheels.


The 2nd Lichfield Jolly this Sunday


If you managed the Cycle Rides For All earlier in the day, keep on pedalling and join us for the 2nd Lichfield Jolly for a bit of fun and a wind down. We are meeting in the Market Square from 4:30pm this Sunday for free cake, rickshaw rides (for the kids or very small adults!), music and more. There is the Lichfield-Roubaix challenge to have a go at too.

From 5:30pm we will ride a slow 4 miles or so together, finishing up at the beer garden of the George & Dragon off Beacon Street. A different route to last year and totally family friendly. All welcome. Feel free to dress up and bring your dingyest bells and whistles.

Eroica Britannia review by Simon

67373_10152905268926304_8165403989096252808_n We had spotted this a little too late to attend last year, but seeing the reviews ensured we got tickets for this year. A celebration of all things cycling, well as long as it pre 1990! The Festival looked to good to miss. We didn’t go for one of the rides, you can choose from 30, 50 or 100 miles options, but your bike  and you must follow the 10 commandments – The 10 Commandments.

  1. Heroic bikes will only be permitted Road racing bikes built before 1987 both with gears and without gears.
  2. Heroic reproduction bikes will only be permitted – “Steel frame new construction with vintage look and characteristics may be used if they are assembled using vintage components or replicated parts similar to the original. No mountain bikes or modern racing bikes.”
  3. Gear shifters must be on the downtube.
  4. Pedals with toe clips and straps. Quick release are NOT allowed apart from Cinelli M71
  5. Brake cables must pass outside the handlebars but other cables can pass inside the frame
  6. Wheels and tyres. Wheels must have at least 32 spokes laced to a low profile rim. 20 mm depth or less, except for the wood rims.  Tyres. Both tubular and clinchers with inner tubes are allowed
  7. Participants with disabilities with specific bikes will be OK to take part as long as they make a specific request to the organisation at the time of registration.
  8. Specific authentic bikes such as Pashley Guvnors, Speed 5s, Moulton and Bromptons can enter the 30 mile and 50 mile routes. These bikes are not encouraged for the 100 mile route. Other bikes such as military, postman and delivery bikes are allowed for the 30 and 50 mile routes.
  9. Participants must be dressed in vintage or era specific clothing
  10. Helmets are not compulsory

1962657_10152905300341304_3381348111751412980_n These ‘rules’, which are self policing, meant that there are some wonderful bikes and riders on show, with many spending the whole weekend in vintage wear. There are stalls a plenty selling anything you could wish for, and a whole lot more you didn’t realise you did need! A cycle jumble like I have never seen, bands, films, talks, plus loads for the kids. Saturday afternoon was reserved for best in show, Best Dressed Family, Master Miss, Rider… and even Dog, some great efforts made (and some ideas for next year!) 1977402_10152905319461304_7495362582134145808_n If you don’t do one of the rides, the cost is not much more than some campsites would charge, with clean toilets, free showers and Bakewell a couple of minutes walk, it was easy to see why so many attend. The food outlets on site were varied, but some a little expensive. The bar, Thornbridge, was busy but offered lots. 11412362_10152905320741304_1555203493846113459_n We did sign up for the family ride, which was on the Saturday afternoon, this was a short cycle, 5 miles, along the flat Monsal trail, with the turn around point at a café. This was a self guided ride and you could set off when you wanted, but you received a number and a rosette upon finishing which the kids seemed to like. 1512327_10152905269761304_6242811510619905229_n Music and bars finished early, around 10.30, which on Friday meant we were one of the many “parties” back by your tents, but Saturday was much quieter with many people wanting to make early starts on the Sunday rides. 10557193_10152905318281304_7067293973367156508_n This was a most enjoyable weekend, we found little to be critical of, and found ourselves referring to what we would be doing for “next year”, so see you there? 20081_10152905327466304_7517606053580649228_n 10246579_10152905270821304_136494507204057363_n 11024794_10152905269711304_6297380112316119923_n 11424463_10152905319686304_4769783428536569229_n 11535663_10152905320666304_7427234430883924511_n 11224215_10152905329851304_4251152187048944946_n

Deanslade Farm Lichfield development

Deanslade Farm Masterplan

Received the following by email from a local campaigner on cycling issues:

“This is a completely new development/estate, which includes a site for a school. My own feeling is there is no excuse for not integrating cycling provision from the outset but this is most unlikely to happen unless representation to that effect is made to the developers and probably also the council.

…if you feel able, email Taylor Wimpey re the proposed development at Deanslade Farm to encourage them to include cycleways or shared cycle/pedestrian paths throughout the development and links to the nearby existing cycleways.”

Information about the development can be found on the Taylor Wimpey website here.


This slide from their recent consultation event seems to indicate shared paths within and around the development, although elsewhere pedestrian access is referred to and not cycling specifically. It might be interesting to compare when the full application is submitted. I have touched on the cycle infrastructure in Lichfield before, you can read about that here.

UPDATE 2/7/15

Copied into this email below:

“I was out of the country when the consultation evening was held for the proposed Deanslade development so could not attend.  However, I have a query, which is relevant to all new residential developments.  We already have the example of Darwin Park, where the cycle route encircles the development but there is not a single dedicated path within it.

I see on the Deanslade proposals there is a cycle route crossing through the development in two directions, linking up with a route around the outside.

Why can all paths in completely new developments, where there is no precedent and no existing foot, cycle or motor traffic to be surveyed for current traffic volumes not be dual use cycle and pedestrian?  There might not be a sudden surge of cyclists,; it would take time.

Surely we want to apply planning measures, which encourage people out of their cars and onto their feet and bicycles with the beneficial side effects of reduced demand on the NHS and an improved quality of life.

It is often said there is no demand for cycle ways but we have no evidence to suggest that if they were provided they would not be used.  We only need to look at the example of continental Europe, and not just the Netherlands, where day after day cycle ways are packed with all ages going about their everyday business to work, school, the shops and riding as a leisure activity.  In my village I see people driving to Weight Watchers; what sense does that make?

Many people do not cycle because they do not feel safe.

Why can it not be tried?”


Aachen limbs – more from our roam correspondent

Part 2 of Marion’s adventures through Europe (first part can be read here)

Maastricht lived up to expectations and I could probably have spent longer there exploring but, I get bored and want to move on. It is certainly a place worth visiting. There is easy access by air to Maastricht-Aachen or by local train and Eurostar via Brussels.

So I left for Germany and Aachen with its links to Charlemagne and its various names: Aachen, Aix la Chappelle and Bad Aachen. Not a long but quite hilly ride with plenty of time to look around. The clue should have been in the name of some sections (Eifel Steig) the Eifel being a set of low mountains to the South and a Steig a climb!

Along the way I stopped for coffee, chained up the bike, sat down and was amused to find the bike, all its parts and luggage being examined and discussed. An equally amused couple at the next table were chatting and suggested if I stood by it I could explain how it worked, in country of millions of bikes! They left with the, what sloppy old me found, touching words, “Have a good day, have a good trip and have a good life.”

Although this was now Germany here was another hostel being refurbished around its guests; this time in a hurry as the whole place was about to be taken over for a week by the world famous Goethe Institute for a course.

Here I encountered for the first time the different attitudes to that useful modern invention, WiFi or in Germany WiLAN. In Belgium or the Netherlands it is free throughout the building but not here or in any other German hostel. 1.50 Euros for a password for an hour and only usable in the entrance areas! There seems a certain lack of acceptance of how most people operate today.

In the town centre I had the bizarre experience of sitting at a pavement cafe eating sauerkraut while round the corner there was a version of the proms going on complete with an enthusiastic rendition of Land of Hope and Glory.

From Aachen I made it to Cologne, which was rammed with people and full of life even though it was Sunday. I used the train to travel the last few Kilometres through the suburbs. I couldn’t face getting lost on top of 80K! Part of the day had involved a very long slow climb up from Scheverhuetten with the reward of a long ‘whosh’ down to Dueren which was great despite the ropey road surface. I’m surprised nothing dropped off me let alone the bike. Arriving at Cologne Hauptbahnhof is always interesting as it is cheek by jowl with the Dom (cathedral) and coming out it is as if Lichfield City exit led into The Close.

Another great week with the prospect of other interesting times to come.

Lichfield Re:Cycle – recharging the batteries

Things continue apace with Lichfield Re:Cycle, more bikes and parts in and out, more advice given and repairs done. Out team of volunteers have worked really hard over the last few weeks so we are going to take a week off to recharge our collective batteries and catch up on some paper and spanner work. When this project began one of the driving factors was always that it should grown slowly and sustainably but at times the fantastic response from local people has been overwhelming, but in a really good way.

This week we have begun to get a family of five sorted to ride together. Mark and Ethan were the first to be done and Mom and two other daughters bikes will be ready very soon. A few years ago Mom was told she would probably never walk again, let alone ride a bike. To see her face as she test rode one of our bikes this week made all the effort that has gone into the project worthwhile. We also received a fantastic testimonial from Talent Match this week that you can read on our website.

We are putting together a programme of free skill sharing demonstrations where you can work on and learn how to maintain your own bike at various venues across the city. If you would like to attend or host one of them please get in touch.

The Lichfield Jolly rides again


Just a few short weeks until the second Lichfield Jolly ride to be held on Sunday 28th June. To be honest, when we put together last years fun event with Ian of Vickers Bicycles, I think we were both pleasantly surprised at how many people came and enjoyed themselves.

The Cycle Rides For All to Packington Farm cafe is earlier the same day but there is plenty of time to do both. Treat the Jolly as a warm down and a well earned fizzy drink. We will be meeting on Market Square from 4.30pm for an hour or so of fun, games, free cake, music and maybe some rickshaw rides. Lichfield Re:Cycle volunteers will also be on hand for any advice you may require. Then around 5.30 will will ride off for a steady 4 or so miles round the city centre before ending up at The George & Dragon’s beer garden sometime after 6.

All are welcome, last year we had a range of riders from families and little uns on tiny single speed bikes to the swanky Burntwood & Brum choppers with plenty more stuff in between. Come in fancy dress, vintage attire, on your old bike, your new bike, your three wheeled bike or even no bike at all. There is a Facebook page for the event and photos from last years Jolly can be found here.

Belgian waffles – from our roam correspondent

Marion sent us a report from her trip to Germany last year. I just received news from her first week of a month long tour this summer, starting in Belgium.

I had previously crossed Belgium by train and coach and thought it seemed a rather faceless place. This impression was compounded by the few Belgians I met. I thought if I cycled across I might find the real Belgium. However, I still find it a very monochrome place and its people rather earnest. Glad I’ve done it.

I left Dover on 28th May headed for Dunkerque. Dover is an interesting experience for a cyclist as large sections of the port area are being dug up and you have to mix with the HGVs. Two hours later I arrived in Dunkerque, which proved a nightmare. As the only cyclist I got priority service and was allowed to disembark first, closely followed by lorries and cars. Anyone intending to do the same trip needs to know that the ferry port is nowhere narrow Dunkerque and there are many busy roads and few signs. Kate Adie called one of her memoirs ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ and when you travel, especially alone, you realise how valuable that is. Standing with a map on a very busy roundabout feeling something akin to despair, I was pointed in the right direction by the simple hand gesture (not a rude one) of a lorry driver. Some 15 – 20 Km later I was relieved to arrived at Dunkerque F1 hotel. F1 is a chain of very basic motel type hotels but they are clean, have comfy beds, you can get breakfast and above all you can take your bike into your room. I can’t imagine that in the UK.

The following day I had a lovely ride along the coast to Oostende, arriving just before the rain, to stay at the new youth hostel. For the evening there was no food but a small kitchen and a rather odd room mate. So odd that the warden asked if I had been OK. Of course I had been.

On Saturday I set out along the Oostende Bruges canal for a most interesting ride. Luckily I arrived in time to have a look around the town as Bruges Herdersbrug hostel is nowhere near Bruges but about 5 Km back towards Zeebrugge along another very indusrial canal. Again it was comfortable and in an interesting position by a swing bridge. But, no food bar frozen pizza! I shared my room with a young Argentinian, who was studying English in London and was on half term break.

Sunday saw me following marked long distance routes to Gent, in the pouring rain. Gent is a fascinating place but the hostel there was being built around its guests. Belgian cycle routes are 99% fantastic and the knopunkte system is brilliant but one thing they don’t seem to do is dropped kerbs so there’s the ever present possibility of an undignified manoeuvre. In Gent I saw a local trying to avoid a van in a narrow street run the kerb edge and fall off. The driver did stop to see if she was OK and she rode off smiling!

Monday saw me heading off on the long trip to Antwerp. Fine once I found a bookshop, bought a knopunkte map and escaped the city. The day involved various free ferries and slice gate crossings, the successful negotiation of which was again helped by the kindness I mentioned earlier. It was a hungry day as unknown to me most bakeries are closed on Mondays. The pounds must be dropping off. I arrived very late for a two night stay at the best of all the Belgian hostels. Nevertheless, there was a certain prison-like quality once past reception. Here I shared with two Dutch girls from Utrecht, who were hitch hiking to Le Mans, a Bavarian girl there for an interview for an engineering job and then a German from Bremen en route to Amsterdam to meet her mother. All interesting people.

I still hadn’t warmed to Belgium and was glad to be heading along the Albert Canal towards Maastricht and therefore the Netherlands. Things began to be more colourful as I reached Hassle not far from the border. For the first time there were proper cafes.

Sure enough, Maastricht is another world; full of colour and life and a wonderful typically Dutch hostel with a terrace onto the river and marvellous food and atmosphere.

One last thing I had stupidly forgotten about Belgium is that it is the home of Eddie Merckx and is cycling mad. So while the infrastructure is brilliant there are also huge gangs of Lycra clad men and women racing about the place. Picture a fully formed peloton of 20 or 30 coming up behind you as you ride along the cycle path behind Netherstowe School!

Hopefully we will be hearing more from Marion as she continues her journey towards Germany.