Coastguards to use pedal power
COASTGUARDS in Felixstowe are looking forward to using a new form of transport this summer to keep an eye on the sea – and getting on their bikes.The coastguard officers will be using mountain bikes because they say they will be far quicker and easier to use to reach some parts of the resort's five-mile coastline or to get back to the coastguard station.
By RICHARD CORNWELL
COASTGUARDS in Felixstowe are looking forward to using a new form of transport this summer to keep an eye on the sea - and getting on their bikes.
The coastguard officers will be using mountain bikes because they say they will be far quicker and easier to use to reach some parts of the resort's five-mile coastline or to get back to the coastguard station.
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The officers have been kitted out with the bikes thanks to help from Felixstowe-based shop Flynnstar Bicycles.
Owner of the shop in Cobbold Road, Stephen Flynn arranged for the bikes to have the Maritime and Coastguard Agency logos, panniers and for a maintenance deal to keep them on the road.
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"We use a four-by-four vehicle on the main prom and that serves us very well in many situations, but there are a lot of places on the coast here where the vehicle cannot reach very easily," said Jo Arlow, Ipswich sector manager for HM Coastguard.
"We looked at various ideas and tried out mountain bikes and found that we can reach almost everywhere with no problem - and pretty quickly, too.
"Now we have our own bikes people will see us out and about on them this summer and hopefully we will be able to respond to situations on the seafront very quickly indeed."
The bikes will be handy for use particularly around the Deben estuary, Felixstowe Ferry to Old Felixstowe area, and down towards Landguard.
Officers will also be more accessible to the public than in a vehicle and able to stop and chat and give advice more easily.
Last summer's hot weather made it a very busy season for the service and officers are anticipating another this year. As well as their patrols along the seafront, co-ordinating response and dealing with incidents, they will also be taking part in a big display at the carnival and helping to manage the raft races.
n. What do you think of the new form of transport for coastguards? Write and tell us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.