In 2011, after a bumpy journey towards securing funding we launched the first of Transition Rutland’s On Your Bike community cycling projects.
After a winter of exciting planning, we spent 6 weeks of that Spring running a series of events, activities and forums to assist the people of Oakham in cycling more, and reducing our need for car journeys. The project was run by volunteers, with funding from Communities Cutting Carbon, and generous offers of support and partnership from Out of the Rut, Rutland County Council, Rutland Cycling, Active Rutland, Velo Club Rutland and more.
On Your Bike Oakham!
We offered Oakham residents the chance to get back on their bikes during March 2011 with the help of a local community group….us!. Transition Rutland, us, we, are a group of local residents, who amongst other things, love cycling, and we set about running a series of “Bike Doctor” days giving people the opportunity to bring their bikes for a bit of TLC in time for the spring. By increasing the amount of people cycling around the town the group wanted to help residents cut their carbon footprint, whilst getting healthy and saving money on petrol too. Bonus.
Using funding from the Communities Cutting Carbon programme, offered by the Rural Community Council, the free bike maintenance sessions were designed to help residents make sure that their bikes are in good shape to take the roads and cycle paths of the county. The free sessions, were run in conjunction with local Social Enterprise, Out of the Rut. Specialists were on-hand to offer bike maintenance advice, undertake basic repairs and give cyclists the confidence that their bikes are safe. Perfect. The “Bike doctors” set-up their surgeries, with all manner of extras and entertaining volunteers, outside Tesco’s on the 5th and 12th March and at Oakham Castle on the 19th March.
Jonathan Ward, founder and then Chair of Transition Rutland had this to say about the events, “our group wants to help residents feel safer and more confident on their bikes, the bike doctors will help with this and we are looking forward to helping Oakham residents to get “On your bike”!. And you know what, he was right, it did help, and people came in their hundreds, more and more each week. This proved an enormous strain on local coffee and sausage roll production as we fuelled ourselves to cycle-maintenance glory.
Whether people were thinking of cycling more, or had been cycling for years, we wanted to hear from people, and set-up an online questionnaire designed to break down barriers to cycling in the town. The survey can be found at http://www.tinyurl.com/onyourbikeoakhamsurvey. The results were used by the group to develop ideas with other organisations that encourage more people to take up cycling, including helping the council with their Local Sustainable Transport Fund bid.
For more information, keep an eye on our blog or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh yeah, I forgot to add, we enjoyed this so much, we’re going to run it every year…and that’s a whole new story.