Cycling event inspires residents young and old

Published: 20 September 2018

The council’s sustainable transport team, Better by…, teamed up with homeless charity Slough Outreach for a free cycling event at Singh Sabha Sports Centre this month.

Better by… bike, which took place on 8 September, saw revellers try out a range of unique cycles including electric bikes, bike trailers, tandems, three-wheeled KMX carts, balance bikes and more.

Many also took part in NHS health checks, which prompted people to consider integrating cycling back into their routine or for the first time; as a way to improve their fitness and as a fun alternative to driving.

Additionally, lots of children built on their confidence during cycle skills taster sessions with Cycle Experience instructors; which even saw one inspirational five year old girl ride a bike unaided for the first time.

The event was designed to inspire the community to switch from car to bike, as well as encourage people young and old, that cycling is for everyone and can be enjoyed as a family too.

The team also provided advice and support for those interested in getting back on their bikes, offering details on cycle routes, cycle hire options and the variety of cycle skills classes happening for all abilities in the borough.

During the day, Slough Outreach raised awareness of their work helping the homeless in the community and offered information for those thinking about joining their volunteer effort.

The charity has their own spin when it comes to cycling as well; with the group holding weekly bike workshops for the homeless at St Mary’s Church on Church Street.

The sessions include training the homeless in bike repair skills, using donated bikes and tools from the community. The participants then come away with bikes they have repaired.

The event was part of the wider Better by… campaign, which aims to encourage people of all ages to use environmentally-friendly forms of travel, such as walking, cycling and public transport, while improving their fitness, saving money and time on the daily commute; and enabling residents to explore new places in the borough.

Other facets under the programme see the team working with those living, working and studying across Slough, and include:

• travel and journey planning training for job seekers and students to assist them in getting to interviews, training and workplaces
• subsidised cycle skills lessons for all ages and abilities in Salt Hill Park
• community cycling events throughout the year featuring static bike races, bike roadshows, a smoothie making bike and advice to help residents to get back on their bikes
• road safety and awareness training for staff, parents and pupils at primary schools
• working with local businesses to assist with cycle to work schemes and developing the cycle infrastructure in and around the borough
• discounted cycle maintenance courses and bike surgeries
• the Cycle Slough cycle hire scheme
• cycle ride leader training and more.

Councillor Martin Carter, cabinet member for planning and transport, said: “We are committed to providing the community with access to sustainable forms of travel, as we are passionate about improving the environment, as well as the health and wellbeing of Slough residents.

“We hope that our Better by… bike event will inspire our residents of all ages to make the switch to greener modes of travel.

“We also encourage other community groups, organisations and charities to reach out to us, if they’re interested in getting involved with any of our cycling activities.”

Better by… events are taking place in schools and workplaces in Slough throughout the year. For more information and to be involved, see the official Better by… page.