Joining the Big Bike Revival

By Alison Holland

Published: April 13, 2022

How do you make it easy for people who don’t cycle to start cycling for everyday trips? What holds people back from just getting on their bikes and cycling - not knowing how to mend that puncture, lack of confidence to cycle in town, brake cables that need replacing or just wanted someone to go cycling with? 

With ever-increasing fuel prices, cycling is becoming an increasingly attractive option for getting around so it’s great that Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival project has been addressing some of the barriers. Here at Brightwayz we’ve really enjoyed being involved - here are some of our BBR stories…

Big Bike Revival at Brightwayz

Although Brightwayz supports active travel schemes UK-wide with our information and amazing range of products, we also run face-to-face projects in our own local area (North Northamptonshire). This includes managing delivery of the Big Bike Revival in Kettering. Across the rest of the country, other not-for-profit organisations run their own local Big Bike Revival events. We’ve really enjoyed seeing what others are doing, eg community cycle rides to a brewery; for inspiration try searching on the project’s hashtag #BigBikeRevival.

The whole Big Bike Revival initiative is run by Cycling UK with funding from the Department for Transport. Regional coordinators from Cycling UK are there to provide support and advice.

Brightwayz started taking part in the Big Bike Revival in autumn 2021 and we have just completed the winter programme. If you are a not-for-profit interested in running the project in your area, find out more at Cycling UK.

BBR Arrow Sign.

Free Cycle Servicing

The Big Bike Revival has several different kinds of activities and one of the most popular for us was the free cycle service/repair sessions we were able to provide thanks to the project funding.

We chose several popular, easy-to-access venues for these public events - Wicksteed Park (the country’s oldest leisure park), the Green Patch (community garden), Kettering market place (during the Vegan market), Kettering General Hospital (by main entrance) and Kettering Buccleuch Academy (local secondary school). These organisations are already well-engaged with promoting active travel and most have also achieved a Modeshift STARS award (Sustainable Travel Accredited and Recognised). In fact by hosting these events they could all tick off another initiative towards their next STARS accreditation.

Here is one of our cycle mechanics at work.

FIxing a bicycle.

Community Cycle Rides

The first Big Bike Revival activity we did back in the autumn was a community cycle ride. This was well supported and included some local Green councillors. The route was on cycle tracks and quiet roads as much as possible as it is all about increasing confidence and helping people to be aware of the local in-town routes they could be using for their everyday journeys. It was great to have children joining us - all accompanied by parents - with the youngest age three and joining us on his balance bike with dad safely by his side.

Our destination was the Green Patch community garden where we then got a tour of the garden, saw the chickens and even had a chance to paint a section of their mural on the side of a shed. Having an interesting destination made it more of a ‘journey for purpose’ rather than just a cycle ride.

Other cycle ride events we organised included a ‘Coffee and Cake ride’, a ‘Womble ride’ to link in to a Great British Spring Clean litter pick event, and ‘Art in the Park’ ride to Wicksteed Park’s ‘Views of the High Street’ local art exhibition and an ‘Off to the Woods’ ride to local beauty spot Weekley Hall Woods.

Cycle confidence training. Cycle and cake. Wicksteed art work.

Learn to Fix Sessions

If you are new to cycling it is really handy to know how to do minor repairs on your bike such as fix a puncture. We held several ‘learn to fix’ sessions to give participants those skills. Some of those taking part had previously come along to our free cycle service events and realised they wanted to know how to do it themselves in future.

Cycle Confidence Training

One of the last activities we held was our cycle confidence training. This was good fun - doing ‘slow’ races on the playground and practising other skills. Then going out on the Saturday streets to get used to safely cycling around Kettering town centre. Although it was an event for adults the children who turned up to with their mum were able to take part too on the playground.

Promoting the Events

As these events were pretty new to our town, it took quite a lot of effort to promote them. We did this mainly via our Brightwayz facebook page as it has a high reach to people local to our area and is where we tend to put our local event information. We tried to get plenty of good photos and some videos of the events. This meant we could feature them afterwards and increase interest in future events. Resources from Cycling UK such as bunting, a massive banner, signage and a gazebo made it easier for us to show what we were doing.

Learn to fix workshop. Cycle confidence training. BBR at KBA.

Looking Ahead

The community cycle rides were so popular that we have now decided to set up an official Kettering Community Cycle Club with the support of Cycling UK. So we will be having regular rides in and around our town with interesting destinations to give more people more confidence to cycle for everyday journeys.

Find Out More

To find out more about the Big Bike Revival events in your area… or to run one yourself… contact Cycling UK.
Photo credits: Brightwayz

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