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News - March 2018


This month we talk to self confessed petrol head Ashley Parmenter about how he got into cycling and why cycling makes sense for short journeys.

We update on the Colchester Bike Kitchen project to assist Refugee Action-Colchester to donate bikes to Syrian adults and children who have recently arrived in our town, further bikes will be donated to Syrians who agree to do Bikeability training.

After all the snow and rain in recent months, we offer some timely advice from Sustrans on how to clean your bike.

We share a study by the British Medical Journal suggesting people who are too busy to exercise daily should multi-task by walking or cycling to work to reduce their risk of heart disease and cancer.

Ride for Helen is back on the 13th May, find out how you can join in. Cyclists from across the county will be meeting at The Crix in Hatfield Peverel to take part in this fantastic, family-friendly event which offers a choice of cycling routes to suit all capabilities; 6 miles, 15 miles, 35 miles, 65 miles and NEW 100 miles.

We talk to Steve Carswell a Bikeability instructor with Cycling4U about his partnership with a Braintree company to deliver Safe Urban Driving (SUD) training for HGV drivers to help improve understanding of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

CBK volunteer Andy Colsell and Emily Harrup, Colchester Travel Plan Club, based at CBC.

Colchester Bike Kitchen partnership with Refugee Action-Colchester

Last spring Colchester Bike Kitchen (CBK) ran a successful campaign to collect bikes for Refugee Action-Colchester, to be donated to Syrian adults and children who had recently arrived in our town. They also secured a CBC Public Health Grant for Bikeability training to be delivered to the families in April, and acquired five more bikes, donated by Colchester Borough Council. The pool bikes are being replaced with more modern versions, to encourage more staff to cycle for business travel, but had been well maintained. CBK collected them last week, and a day later the team reported that the bikes had been serviced and were ready to be given to their new owners. The bikes will be offered to Syrians who agree to do Bikeability training, funded by a CBC Public Health grant.

How to clean your bike (and why you definitely need to)

After a winter spent riding on wet and dirty roads with mud, grit and other debris being thrown up onto your bike it’s almost certainly in need of a good clean. So here’s some timely advice from Sustrans.

Commuting by bike significantly lowers risk of heart disease and cancer, says BMJ study

People who are too busy to include exercise in their daily routines should “multi-task” by cycling or walking to work, suggests a new study by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The study found that cycling in particular helped to improve health. It said that that people who are less physically active are more likely to develop health issues such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes; and likely to die younger. 

It suggests that councils and government need to make it a top priority to encourage as many commuters as possible to cycle.

In the UK figures show that only 3% of commuters cycle to work and 11% walk, which is one of the lowest levels in Europe. 

Ride for Helen to support the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity

Ride for Helen is back on Sunday 13May for its fifth year and promises to be one of the region’s biggest and best cycling events in 2018, in aid of the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity.

Cyclists from across the county will be meeting at The Crix in Hatfield Peverel to take part in this fantastic, family-friendly event which offers a choice of cycling routes to suit all capabilities; 6 miles, 15 miles, 35 miles, 65 miles and NEW 100 miles.

All ages and abilities are welcome to join in as individuals or as a team, and families can enjoy two FREE child places for every paying adult on the 6 mile route. Included in the registration price is a fundraising pack, route maps, route signage, first aid support, mobile mechanic support and recovery, refreshment stops and a medal for finishers.

HRCC Fundraising Manager Kate Alden said: “We are all really looking forward to this year’s Ride for Helen as it’s always such an exciting and popular event which attracts a variety of participants. We have worked really hard to map out the best routes through the beautiful Essex countryside to ensure that all of our riders have a fantastic experience. 

For more information or to register, please visit www.rideforhelen.co.uk or call 01245 380719. You can also find out more about the great work that Helen Rollason Cancer Charity does at www.helenrollason.org.uk 

How training helps HGV drivers and cyclists to share the space

We were pleased to hear from Steve Carswell, a Bikeability instructor with Cycling4U who have teamed up with another Braintree company to deliver Safe Urban Driving (SUD) training for HGV drivers. The aim is to gain an understanding of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, and how and why urban roads are changing to accommodate them. After a classroom theory session, the drivers take to two wheels to experience first-hand the vulnerability of being a cyclist.

Steve says: “The training isn’t intended to get the participants up to an agreed level of cycling ability, but to make them aware of the National Standards, and to facilitate discussion of the issues facing both the vulnerable and less-vulnerable road user.

“As an example, on a recent course blighted by snow and therefore with a little more time on deeper discussion and less riding, I asked each attendee to state what they would make law in respect of cyclists if they were omnipotent for a day. There was one jokey call of "Ban 'em" when my back was turned but other than that it was mainly about making training a requirement for cyclists.”

So if you happen to have the ear of a local transport business, please make them aware of this training - and don’t forget to give Bikeability a try. Contact Steve by emailing steve@cycling4u.org

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local riders

This month we talk to Dan Gascoyne, who’s recently joined Colchester Borough Council as Assistant Director, Policy & Corporate. Whilst he’s not an obsessive cyclist, bikes have always been part of his life, as the best way to get around. More

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