Bike donation boosts cycling opportunities for young people

YOUNG people are being taught the skills to restore and maintain bikes as more safe cycling networks are created in Tameside.Cycle-ops Adventure – funded by Tameside Council and run by the Council’s Youth Service – runs free sessions giving young people the chance to repair their bicycles or learn mechanical skills by working on the scheme’s bikes.

The service relies on donated bikes and was recently delighted to be given two bicycles by Mossley youngsters Ben and Charlie.

It comes as planned improvements to Tameside’s walking and cycling networks are consulted on and ahead of a summer of cycling events.

Cycle-ops has been running for around 15 years with young people able to pop in at Charlestown Industrial Estate, Robinson Street, Ashton, on Thursdays from 5 to 7.30pm.

The workshop enables young people to work in groups or individually with staff to learn how to fix and maintain their own bicycles, build new bikes from recycled parts and take part in bike rides with trained staff to experience new trails and the freedom and enjoyment of riding in open spaces. It helps teach mechanical skills that can inspire and support them into qualifications or employment, build self-esteem and make new friends.
Seven-year-old twins Ben and Charlie wanted other children to benefit from their old bikes after outgrowing them and getting new ones.

Mum Andrea Wright is the project lead officer for walking and cycling at Tameside Council.  She said: “When I asked Ben and Charlie what they wanted to do with their old bikes they were really happy when they heard about this scheme to repair bikes for other children to use, particularly as they’ve been learning about recycling at school.

“My job is about developing Tameside’s walking and cycling infrastructure but it’s also important that people have the skills and confidence to ride safely. Schemes like Cycle-ops, and other initiatives that we’re supporting in Tameside, are helping new generations of cyclists travel sustainably and enjoy Tameside’s great outdoors to be fitter and healthier.”

Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “Cycle-ops is reliant on donations so we’re delighted and grateful that Ben and Charlie have donated their old bicycles. It’s a great service that helps young people gain new skills and cycle safely. And with the investment we’re making into new walking and cycling routes across Tameside, it’s more important than ever.”

Tameside Council has been given approval in principle from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund (MCF) for 11 schemes – including new and extended cycle lanes, new crossings and junction alterations – with an ask of £11 million.  Consultation on the proposals, which aim to make travelling around Tameside safer, greener and more attractive, ends on 6 March.

Drop-in events to discuss the plans take place on Friday, 28 February, 10am-1pm, at Hyde Town Hall and Tuesday, 3 March, 2-4pm, at Stalybridge Civic Hall.

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