Earlier this year the Coronavirus and subsequent lockdown saw the world fall back in love with the bicycle. As we enter a new season of inclement weather, we find out more about what is happening in the border town of Monmouth and how help is on hand for the local residents to Choose Cycling.
On Sunday 27th September ‘DrBike’, a mobile mechanic service provided by Cycle Training Wales, visited Monmouth offering free check-ups and basic repair services for residents’ bicycles. The workshop organised by Bike-Friendly & ACE (Action for Climate Emergency) Monmouth, funded by the Town Council, was hugely successful – with 46 bicycles repaired in 4 hours. Founded in 2007, award winning social enterprise Cycle Training Wales offer a range of repair and training services to schools, workplaces, housing associations and communities across South Wales.
Beginner and experienced cyclists, families, those of working-age and retired alike journeyed from all residential districts and neighbouring villages of Monmouth. Following repair, residents were invited to have their bikes security marked by Gwent Police. Local bike shop Launch Bikes provided helmet fitting and Honeysuckle Wood encouraged residents to try out their E-Bikes. Monmouth Cycling Club was on hand for those needing tyres pumping up in addition to offering advice on safe child-carrying seats, trailers, and cargo bikes. People enjoyed local food served by Miniyakis Japanese Soul Food and the Welsh Cake Hut, with social distancing being respected by all.
Organisers Councillor Rachel Jupp reflected on the day, “I’d like to thank the town council for providing the funding and the bike mechanics for working like Trojans. It was fantastic to see how much interest there was. Often the first barrier to cycling is knowing that your bike is roadworthy, so it is a huge thing to overcome this, and in such numbers. This workshop could not have happened without an army of volunteers; we are grateful to them all. Having witnessed the day’s success, the need for these workshops is unquestionable and we must work hard to ensure funding is set aside accordingly.”
Jennifer Bara, event organiser, said, “What a terrific atmosphere. One lady had her bike repaired that had suffered damaged caused by the floods. She was so grateful and happy that she can now ride into town for her shopping like she used to. This is exactly what Bike-Friendly Monmouth is all about. Encouraging and enabling cycling. Everyone deserves to feel safe and comfortable cycling from where they live into school, work, to go shopping or simply for the sheer joy of being on a bike. There is a long way to go in terms of infrastructure and education to make our town truly bike friendly, this is just one of several projects we are working on."
Local resident Sarah Adams enjoyed the event, “We really embraced cycling during lockdown, but the bike was second hand and very squeaky. Dr Bike sorted the squeak, sorted a buckled wheel, and gave the bike a general overhaul. It was beyond my skills, so I really appreciated having the experts on hand to help. We then spoke with Gwent Police and registered the bike to help against theft. I love how you extended the event to include additional stalls selling biking accessories and then went above & beyond to engage local food stalls. It really made the event a destination event and not something you passed through.”
Welsh Cycling Development Officer Dan Coast said, “Monmouthshire has always been a great county playing host to a number of major cycling events here in Wales. It is encouraging to see the local authority work in partnership with the town council and a pool of clearly passionate volunteers work together to encourage more people to use cycling as part of their everyday transport needs. Welsh Cycling are in discussions with local authorities across Wales to create a clear vision for each of these authorities that will best serve all people who choose to cycle.”