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England's cyclists to get a "free MOT and service" this summer

Posted on in Cycles News

Cyworkshop survey 2008cling UK today launches the Big Bike Revival, an initiative that will fix bikes for free and aims to get thousands more people cycling for everyday journeys. The programme is being delivered in communities across England

As part of its work to mark the UN's World Bicycle Day and Bike Week (30 May to 5 June), Cycling UK today (3 June) has launched its Big Bike Revival in England, which aims to fix would-be cyclists' bikes and get the country cycling.

The Big Bike Revival will support new and returning cyclists in communities across England as it runs events across more than 300 centres, where people can turn up with their bikes and get them repaired on the spot for free.

Cycling UK estimates one in three people in the UK either own or have access to a bike, and through its Big Bike Revival the charity hopes to make as many of these bikes as possible safe for the road. The project is hoped to build on the momentum of the nation's love for cycling which begun during the lockdown when cycling trips soared.

Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK's chief executive said: "Now in its seventh year, I like to think of our Big Bike Revival as a combination of a free MOT and service for the nation's bikes - making sure they're all in tip top condition for a summer of cycling ahead.

"England fell in love with cycling during the lockdown and through the Big Bike Revival we'll be looking to keep that love alive as we run public events and small, social group rides across the country. After more than a year of limited social contact, we're keen to start helping those who want to cycle connect with new people, boost their wellbeing and build their confidence on two wheels."

The project is made possible thanks to a £2-million funding package from the Department for Transport, the largest award made in the history of the project's history recognising the transformational impact the scheme has on people's lives.

Cycling Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:

"Cycling is great for your health, the environment and for easing congestion on our roads so we're delighted to be supporting this vital initiative with £2-million in funding.

"By helping more people take up cycling and spruce up their bikes, this scheme will go a long way in promoting active travel and achieving our vision for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be walked or cycled by 2030."

England fell in love with cycling during the lockdown and through the Big Bike Revival we'll be looking to keep that love alive

Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK chief executive

Cycling UK's Big Bike Revival is now in its seventh year and since its inception has reached a total of more than a quarter of a million people. That's the equivalent of the population of a city the size of Hull being supported to cycle.

Last year, the programme shifted gears to help enable key workers to continue to travel to work safely while avoiding public transport and then ran Dr Bike events in local communities to offer free bike checks and basic repairs to everyone.

One beneficiary of the Big Bike Revival is Narinder Kaur, an intensive-care nurse from Walsall in the West Midlands. Through the Big Bike Revival Narinder learned how to cycle and joined the Walsall Arboretum Community Cycle Club. Cycling helped her cope with the grief of her father's death in 2018, and has continued to help Narinder, who lives alone, cope during the pandemic.

She said: said: "Thanks to Cycling UK, I managed to have my bike serviced by a qualified maintenance person during last year's lockdown.

"When I lost my Dad, it was a very low time in my life. I didn't ever stop thinking about him but learning to ride you had to think about how to balance and pedal and that helped me to move on in my life. The Walsall Arboretum Community Cycling Club has given me so many opportunities from learning to ride, to then undertaking a ride leader course to volunteering to help others."

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, almost half of the beneficiaries Cycling UK engaged with were non-regular cyclists, who rode once every two weeks or less. In 2021, Cycling UK aims to engage with 45% of those defined as non-regular cyclists, with a view to create around 50,000 new cycling trips this year, on average the programme could encourage around 1,875 new cycling trips per week or 270 new cycling trips every day.

The project will run until 31 December 2021 and will continue to offer support to help people carry on riding during the autumn and winter months when many people cycle fewer miles and less often.

The Big Bike Revival is delivered in partnership with a diverse network of not-for-profit organisations around the country.

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