Find out local help available to get you back in the saddle, to improve your confidence or get your bike ready to ride.
Donate your unwanted bike to be shipped to Africa and buy quality refurbished bikes at modest costs.
For advice on what bike, local bike shops, routes beyond Colchester, Bike Drinks, local campaigning and much more.
Regular, gentle rides to boost confidence and experience
A points-based activity for infant, junior and primary schools located within the Essex County Council Authority catchment
C: Would you like to talk a bit about yourself and what you do?
S: I am Sarah Kafala and I work at the University library and this is a new career for me- I used to work as a designer and publication manager but I had a break for having children.
I enjoy working at the University and it's great because it's quite easy to get into since I can cycle. Currently I am not because my bike has got a huge crack in it so...It is about 15 years old though so it has done a good service, it's been on a lot of rides and on long distances; before I had the children I used to go cycling a lot. I am definitely going to get a new bike though- I am looking at the Cycle scheme the University runs which helps you buy a bike and I also thought about getting one from Re-Cycle.
C: So did you move here from somewhere else when you changed career?
S: We moved here from London and that is where I used to cycle everywhere. We came here with our three children and I have to say: at first I found it a bit scary to cycle around Colchester because the traffic goes so much faster than in London. People say cycling is dangerous in London- and it can be- but everything is going quite slowly, whereas here not so much. But we got used to that and now me and my kids cycle to school in the morning- we try to do it everyday and normally I would then cycle on here- to Uni. My husband also cycles to the train station to get into work on a Barclay bike, which works for London. I actually noticed they have got them (the bikes) at Colchester station now and I was happy to see it.
C: Are there any particular bike rides you went on?
S: We do a lot, we went to the St. Helena's Hospice ride the other week- at the end of September. My son has been on the 25miles one and my daughter and me did the shorter one, just 7 miles. She is only six though, but she is keeping up with her brothers.
C: So how did you get into cycling or is it just something you've always done?
S: I learned to cycle as a child and we just played around in our street sort of thing. I think I got more interested in it when I moved to London and I got my first job when I was in my twenties. Some friends that I lived with had bikes and so we started doing charity rides at the weekends: went off and cycled to Oxford from London or to Brighton and all sorts of places. Every weekend in the summer we would go for a bike ride and then it was the quickest way to get around London. And I just kept doing it, it was convenient for all the obvious reasons.
C: Do you think Colchester is a cycle-friendly town?
S: Yeah I do, it has quite a good system of off-road routes and that is useful for those who don't have the confidence to cycle on the road. I am fine with cycling on the road, but if I wanted to go on the off-road route I could do it quite easily because you have many options- although I think that most of the times it takes a little longer that way.
C: Have you signed the kids for any particular cycling activities or is it more of a family thing?
S: My children at school, the boys are in year six and they just did the Bikeability a couple of weeks ago and got their level 2, so they're very proud! But there is all sorts of great things around Colchester, I mean we have been on a couple of Richard Monk's family rides and we really enjoyed that. The boys also want to sign up for Colchester Rovers, it will be interesting to see how that goes.
C: Thank you so much for sharing with us your cycling story!
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Cycle around Essex and collect stamps towards a free slice of cake!
Take the kids on a treasure trail around High Woods country park and find real treasure at the end!
Friendly community bicycle workshop offering drop in sessions twice a week
Friendly community bicycle workshop 1st and 3rd Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon each month