Free bikes for NHS workers in Ipswich and free repairs for all cyclists
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
An environmentalist has launched a passion project to offer free bike repairs, adapted trikes for the disabled and a hire scheme as an alternative to petrol and diesel cars in Ipswich.
The Ipswich Bike Project launched last Sunday on the Waterfront as part of Christopher Blomeley's vision to encourage cycling.
The 60-year-old from Colchester says bicycles are the "antidote" to petrol and diesel vehicles, and wants to ensure it isn't difficult for people to get on two wheels.
"We have a hub which is offering free basic bike repairs once a week," he said. "This will support the everyday cyclist who might want to cycle to work or school.
"There is enough space down on the Waterfront for accessible cycling, for those learning to ride and people with disabilities who may need adapted trikes — we'll support any organisations looking to support people with health and fitness needs.
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"We are hiring out bikes in exchange for a donation, but we are not like the Boris Bike scheme which is just commercial — this is a community project."
People have been donating their old and unused bikes to the not-for-profit group, which is in turn giving them away to NHS workers, who might be keen not to use public transport or can't afford to buy a bike.
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The project will be providing 'led cycles' in partnership with Cycling UK to take riders on routes through Ipswich and Suffolk.
These rides aim to encourage drivers to share the road with cyclists and feel welcome, as well as helping cyclists assert their right to be there.
Another idea by Mr Blomeley is to provide a delivery service for businesses looking to use less mileage — a scheme which will provide local jobs.
"We want to be a solution to a problem," he added. "Why are we having this love affair with cars?
"We have the antidote and are spear heading this environmental push to bring new jobs and create more in the future."
The Ipswich Bike Project has signed up to the Ipswich Cycling and Walking Charter which aims to address pollution, congestion and inactive lifestyles.