Monday, 26 November 2012

South Gloucs gets a Bike Aid scheme

From the website

South Gloucs businesses install emergency cycle kits for commuter cyclists

Kits include locks, lights and high-vis gear, as well as repair tools

South Gloucestershire firms have grouped together to create emergency bike first aid kits - that they hope will encourage staff to cycle to work.

More than 20 firms along the A4174 ring road - which represent around 40,000 staff members and 30,000 students, have cooperated to deposit specialist kits at workplaces.

These include essential cycle maintenance tools and spare equipment such as lights, locks and high-visibility jackets, to help out riders who might otherwise be stranded when they forget something.

The employers involved include Airbus, HP, Mitie, Friends Life and the Bristol & Bath Science Park, as well as the University of the West of England and NHS Blood & Transplant.

The scheme was introduced by North Bristol SusCom, which stands for 'Sustainable Commuting' and is a partnership between local businesses.

SusCom Director Ann O’Driscoll said: "We all recognise the importance of sustainable transport, such as cycling, as a way of reducing congestion and promoting healthy lifestyles.

"Cycling to work is a great way to get fit and save money and this scheme aims to make it as easy as possible for staff to do this.

"Flat tyres or forgotten locks can be a big nuisance for cyclists and this scheme aims to encourage people to bike to work in the knowledge that help is at hand should it be needed."

SusCom also operate a pool bike scheme for businesses.

The National Composite Centre at the Bristol & Bath Science Park is one of many local employers to have recently taken delivery of a kit. Chief Executive Peter Chivers said: “The NCC is fully committed to providing our employees with sustainable and healthy travel to work alternatives.

“As a keen cyclist myself I had the misfortune of two punctures on my way to work by bike this summer. I can understand the impact and challenge that making a repair can make and the additional time which can impact on the working day.

“The NCC is therefore really pleased to participate in the scheme because it gives a win all round, benefitting the environment, the employee and the business.”

Cllr Brian Allinson, chairman of South Gloucestershire Council’s planning, transportation and strategic environment committee, said: "Many people live within three or five miles of their workplace, making cycling an ideal means of getting to work.

"And with recent investment in cycle routes in South Gloucestershire, there has never been a better time for people to get on their bike – especially with the added reassurance that any minor maintenance problems can be resolved when they get there, thanks to this excellent emergency kit scheme."


Suffolk Bike Aid got in touch with North Bristol SusCom to tell them about what we do in Suffolk and they kindly sent along images of the kit and the poster that goes up where kits are kept.

When we asked about adding their sites to our map, we were told these kits are aimed at employees and visitors to the company sites. SusCom did talk to providers about having more open access to the kits but security is pretty tight on many of their sites so it makes it difficult for the general public to access them. The kits are worth nearly £100 so they are usually kept with security and signed out when used but SusCom agrees with Bike Aid there is great benefit in having smaller cheaper kits at more publicly accessible locations and will make that suggestion to local councils and other partners.

Suffolk Bike Aid is elated that this effort has been made and considers it further vindication of the feasibility of our scheme. We hope local councils and employers can understand they don't need to invest very much to get any bike aid kit scheme going, people just need encouragement and assurance that Jobsworths won't interfere. There's a tendency to over-engineer the process.

New kits can be provided for £2 each and could be treated as disposable or provided for sale but our preference is that kits are used to build social capital and recycle surplus materials.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Surplus furniture recycled by Bike Aid

After the controversial Schools Organisation Review carried out by Suffolk County Council, a great deal of surplus school equipment and furniture was shipped to Halesworth Middle School in September for disposal. Being that our local school was closed in the reorganisation, we were keen to see that all this equipment and furniture didn't go to waste. After badgering a few people in the county council about what was going to happen, we were told that once the remaining schools had taken their pick, everything left would be available for free to Suffolk community groups. So through Suffolk ACRE's email list, Suffolk Bike Aid alerted hundreds of groups and many went and obtained very useful furniture and equipment. Suffolk Bike Aid got for itself one of these paper storage racks and the trays which is now the central sorting point for donated bike tools and all our fiddly spares and it's where we can keep the various kinds of materials we use to make Bike Aid containers. In the winter months ahead, we'll be tinkering in the shed with Bike Aid R&D on some ideas we've got to make presentable containers out of recycled materials.

Monday, 2 July 2012

We're sorry

We are very sorry to announce that due to personal commitments, Bike Aid will now not have a presence at the Latitude Festival as planned. This is due to a serious illness arising in the coordinator's and related volunteers' family.

We are very sorry to have dashed the expectations of our volunteers and apologise that the decision to withdraw has come so late but there were times when it looked as if things would get better. We are very grateful to the many offers of help received. We had found nearly all the equipment and personnel we needed so we shall consider it again next year.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Begging Bowl

With regret the Bike Aid participation in the Latitude Festival has been cancelled. See the relevant post for details. This remains here just as a record.

In order to create a Bike Aid cycling 'community centre' at the Latitude Festival, we need to obtain the following resources. Any offers of assistance or leads are welcome. 

We will need this by 11/7/12 in IP19. All the donors will be profusely thanked and linked to here and on the stand.

We believe doing this will greatly leverage the other resources we already have and so bring considerable benefits to the local community and wider Suffolk and cycling nationally. Ask us how.

Update: we are getting offers on some stuff. We'll tick off what we have secured soon as confirmed. Things marked ** are consumables, the rest we just need to borrow. It's all a matter of perspective; we think we don't need to buy anything new, most of these things we've seen thrown away or know they lying forgotten in storage somewhere.


            tent or gazebo up to 6m
            groundsheets or waterproof matting
            bike aid banner
            bunting & flags
            bike aid pointers
            gaffer tape**
            cable ties**
            staple gun
            folding tables
            folding chairs
            smoke detector
            leaflet display racks
            paper weights
            projector screen
        volunteer room
            sleeping bags
            billy set
            stove & gas**
            water carrier
            tea & coffee etc.**
            first aid kit**
            thank-you gifts**
            multi-plug solar charger
            hygiene supplies**
                bin bags
                loo paper
                dry cloths
                hand wash
    bike aid facility
        bike tools
            bike workstand
            allen keys
            cycle pumps w/ valve fittings
            puncture repair kits**
        bike stand
        tool collection tubs
        kit making demo
            clean empty Tetra Pak cartons**
            mailing tubes w/ caps**
            presentation liquor boxes or tubes**
            vinyl bike aid labels**
            cupcakes & doughnuts
            local juices
            cups & spoons
            local food samples (non per)
    information facility
                community development
        maps of local routes
            local food samples (non per)
            beer mats
            3G dongle
            mobile phone
            cost of
            someone to
                design a  leaflet
                design a sticker
                design & produce info boards
            photographer to document
            people to tweet 
            press release writing and distribution
            festival programme
                stand copies**
        small van
        onsite volunteers
                schlep & set up
            very early thurs
                 schlep & set up
                Tour de Latitude stand
                bike aid stand
                bike aid stand
                bike aid stand
                bike aid stand
            late Sun
                wrap & schlep
                wrap & schlep
        support volunteers

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Bike Aid sponsored by Suffolk ACRE

Suffolk Bike Aid can announce it has secured the rural development charity Suffolk ACRE as an in-kind sponsor to shoulder the small outgoings and insurance requirements so there will be a Bike Aid presence at the Latitude Festival at Henham from 12-15 July. It is now possible for Bike Aid to create a cycling community centre in the campsite amenity area for the 35,000 visitors to Latitude. Look for the banner above we've just ordered.

We are asking for any support that cycling-focussed organisations can give us with supplying local cycling and tourism literature, tents, folding tables, info boards, bike tools, puncture repair kits, folding chairs, lighting, bunting, banners, bike stand, stickers etc.

Along with information about Suffolk ACRE's work with rural communities, we aim to include information about local transition, local food groups and other things that fit in with the Bike Aid ethos of building communities and social capital by cycling; in the hope of course those groups will support Bike Aid somehow in kind. Bike Aid will be collecting unwanted bike tools and bike bits from the Tour De Latitude riders to recycle as bike aid kits or deliver to a local cycling workshop providing training and employment to disabled people.

We also need to recruit a few local-cycling-knowledgeable volunteers (i.e. people who actually cycle in Suffolk sometimes) to man the stall.

If you can help us in anyway, please get in touch, email is best, from the contact page.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Host Profile: The Ship at Dunwich

At the Ship at Dunwich - once a haunt of smugglers - you will now find a traditional coastal inn with local real ales, homemade food and real fires, comfortable, traditionally furnished bedrooms, an enormous garden and a beach that really is just a short stroll away. In the famous village of Dunwich and surrounded by nature reserves, heathland and beach, The Ship is a perfect base from which to explore this wild and wonderful coastline.

Please ask in the bar for the Bike Aid kit.

Ship Inn
St James Street, Dunwich IP17 3DT
01728 648219

image © Copyright Paul Shreeve and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Host Profile: The Westleton Crown

Perfectly situated for exploring the delights of the Suffolk Heritage Coast; the Westleton Crown combines the character and charm of its coaching inn heritage with the comforts of contemporary living: smouldering log fires, 34 stylish bedrooms, award winning AA 2 rosette restaurant, sophisticated wine list and delightful terraced gardens. Ask for the Bike Aid kit at the reception.

Westleton Crown

The Street Westleton, Suffolk IP17 3AD
01728 648777

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Suffolk Bike Aid is supporting the Tour De Latitude.

This year Festival Republic and Marks & Spencer are teaming up for adventurous way of travelling to the Latitude festival in 2012 – the Tour de Latitude. This initiative is set to raise funds for orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya and Julie's Bicycle who help make environmental sustainability intrinsic to the creative industries.

Tour de Latitude will take place on Thursday 12th July, giving festival goers the chance to get from one of the three start points along the route, on a tour of country villages from London to the Latitude site, before the entertainment begins in the evening. The furthest starting point is Hackney in London, a whopping 113 miles from Latitude with an estimated journey time of 8- 12 hours, a challenging ride for experienced riders. The second starting point is half the London distance, leaving from Sudbury near Colchester, 55 miles from the festival with an estimated journey time of 3-5 hours, while the final starting point is Ipswich, 35 miles from Henham Park estimated at 2-4 hours.

We informed the festival organisers of the Bike Aid resources along the route and have since been invited to host a Bike Aid station at Henham Park. The logistics are still being worked out but things are looking very likely we'll be there to make more kits for local hosts from the surplus and unwanted tools people bring to us and distribute information about local cycling. If you'd like to give us a hand with our stand, please get in touch.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Lowestoft Local Links scheme to improve cycle facilities

Lowestoft Local Links is a £6.25 million pound project funded by the Department of Transport, Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council to improve travel options for everybody in Lowestoft to enable them to travel around the town easier, saving them money and improving their health and well being.

The Lowestoft Local Links scheme will introduce a package of measures including:

  • A new pedestrian and cycle bridge beside the current bascule bridge to provide a safer, more enjoyable environment for people crossing the Inner Harbour.
  • Working with employers to encourage sustainable travel to work including the offer of cyclist training and Walk to Work Week. 
  • Encouraging walking and cycling to school supported by two ‘Bike-It’ officers. 
  • Introduction of new bus services to serve key employment and tourist areas. 
  • Improved bus and rail interchange. 
  • Development of a station travel plan to link facilities for travelling by train, bus and bicycle. 
More information

Suffolk Bike Aid has written to Suffolk County Council to suggest endorsement and signposting of Bike Aid by this scheme and to offer our support in kind and they responded on 1/5/12 that this suggestion will be considered.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Host Profile: Halesworth Area Community Transport

The Halesworth Area Hoppa is a unique scheduled bus service run by a non-profit company and driven by volunteers that operates four days a week to provide the younger and the older residents of the town a lifeline to reach essential services.

The bike aid kit is available from their office open Monday to Friday 9 AM - 12 pm at Halesworth Railway Station, Station Road, IP19 8BZ telephone 01986 875900

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Give Me Tap

GiveMeTap is making clean water easily accessible to every human in the world by creating a network of cafes and shops where you can use your GiveMeTap Bottle to get free tap water refills. We are improving the convenience of getting tap water and use 70% of profits to help others in need by funding water projects in Africa.

Naturally Bike Aid is gratified when it sees that others share our belief that a national network can be built on the slight and distant promise of mutual assistance however we don't feel it's necessary to monetise it.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Roving SOS Bikes of São Paulo

The city of São Paulo, the largest in Brazil, has invested in creating a 45 km network of bike paths. It also provides a staffed cycle repair station in the main park and six mechanics on specially-equipped bikes who patrol the bike paths to assist with any breakdowns and give advice and encouragement. And best of all, this is all free. 

The SOS BIKE mechanics provide:
  • Seat and handlebar adjustment
  • Chain tensioning
  • Puncture repair and wheel balancing
  • Brake adjustments
The best we can tell with Google's translation is this is part of a campaign called Movemento Conviva to encourage peaceful coexistence between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Their mission statement says: "living well begins with small actions, which generate big changes". Well, Bike Aid can testify to that!

More info in Portuguese

Follow them on Twitter: @reporterconviva

Boris Johnson and mayors everywhere: take note.