Getting in the saddle

Gill Greaves, Simon Simpson, Jonathan Debenham and Nathan Featherstone on bikes at Spen Valley track. (d26031207)
Gill Greaves, Simon Simpson, Jonathan Debenham and Nathan Featherstone on bikes at Spen Valley track. (d26031207)

AN innovative new cycling scheme is under way that promises to bridge the gap between enthusiasts of all abilities – while getting young job seekers into training.

The Streetbikes project is aimed at getting disabled and able bodied people into cycling, while providing a bike maintenance and recycling scheme run by young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Kirklees Council will be working in partnership with the Streetbikes Community Trust to develop the skills of the young people in bike maintenance and repair, based at the Princess Mary Running Track, in Littletown.

They would then be on hand to help maintain the road bikes and adapted, disabled bikes, gaining AQA qualifications in the process. The public can also donate old bikes to be recycled.

Gill Greaves, from Streetbikes, said: “The young people would help the mechanics and learn about bike maintenance.

“We are going to set up a Saturday Club as a trade off with the running track, for letting us use their pavilion.

“It means we can help them sustain activities in return for the space we can use to store and repair the bikes.”

The project will be up and running in a matter of weeks, thanks to £9,000 secured through the Spen Valley Area Committee and Metro has matched the grant, to bring the £18,000 project to fruition.

Both able bodied and disabled people from across North Kirklees will be able to use the new Spen base.

Gill believes the scheme will have huge health benefits for everyone involved.

Last year, Streetbikes ran 13 summer cycling events, culminating in an event bringing together Fartown, Dewsbury Moor and Mirfield, where 23 recycled bikes were given away.

“We ran a smaller scale project last year with NEET youngsters and one of them has been funded to become a BMX coach from May,” she said.

“If things go well he will join us to be a coach for us. He has the experience we want.”

She hopes this is the first of many success stories.

“Our aim with this scheme is to have a stack of bikes that we can lend to schools, so children can do their cycling proficiency tests. We want to get as many people using bikes as we can as part of a healthy lifestyle,” she added.

For information contact Gill on 07873 773417.