Bike Week 2012 is almost upon us. You might think Bike Week sounds a bit of an anti-climax given that we're only a few weeks away from Year of Cycling, but bear with us, there's some great stuff going on.
Bike Week is all about getting people who might not usually ride out on their bikes, and that's hugely important.
Nationally, research shows that the richest 20% of people cycle an average of 33 miles a year to work, compared with just nine miles for the poorest 20%. Two-thirds of those using London's cycle-hire scheme claim household incomes of more than £50,000 a year, though only a quarter of London residents make that much. And 77% of them are men. In Amsterdam, by contrast, most cyclists are women. So there's a clear need for different swathes of the population to get on their bikes.
First off, Bike Week sponsors, Samsung, have created an app where you log your miles of cycling (or running or walking). For every mile travelled, Samsung give a pound to charity. So that's worth getting for starters.
The app is free to download to your smartphone and for an added incentive Olympic tickets will be given to the event or individual that logs the most miles running up to the Olympic Games.
Here are just some of the events going on around the country - we’ll add more so keep checking back.
North & Scotland
Join in the East Wirrall commuter cycle challenge: This is a challenge open to all businesses within East Wirral. Teams of up to 5 members of staff record the distance that they cycle to and from work during Bike Week.
The team with the highest average mileage per team member will win £100 of high street vouchers.
Cycle for Health initiative is a guided cycling scheme around Liverpool’s green spaces and parks which helps people get back into cycling.
These guided cycling sessions run throughout the week, are free of charge and last for about 1 ½ – 2 hours each. Bikes and equipment can also be hired free of charge.
Ssessions will also be taking place throughout bike week:
Monday, 10.00am - Otterspool Promenade
Tuesday, 10.00am - Croxteth Park
Tuesday, 1.00pm - Belle Vale Park
Wednesday, 10.00am - Walton Hall Park
Thursday, 10.00am - Sefton Park
Friday, 10.00am - Calderstones Park
Daventry is to host its first Cyclefest on Saturday, June 23, with lots of free cycling activities for all the family, including toddle bikes, maintenance classes, adult learn-to-ride and a bicycle basket bazaar - the cycling equivalent of a car boot sale, all at Chaucer Way car park.
Free bike checks at a ‘Biker’s Breakfast’ event. Riders can drop into the Cycle Hub at Haywards Heath railway station from 7.30am until 10am and a bike doctor will check your machine, free of charge, to ensure that everything is in perfect working order.
You'll leave with a free bell and the chance to add a security marker to your bike to help identify it if it's stolen.
There are lots of special rides on offer in Oxford, with the main attraction for experienced riders being a night ride to Dorset on Saturday night. Closer to home there is a foraging and nature ride on Tuesday and a Summer Solstice morning ride on Thursday setting off at 6am to take in Port Meadow and Boars Hill before returning to Oxford by 8am for breakfast at the Turl Street Kitchen.
Stevenage Bike Week includes two challenge rides, one taster ride (four to five miles), six evening rides and two Saturday Starters including the Teddy Bears’ Picnic. For more experienced riders, Stevenage Circular Cycle is this Sunday, June 17 and is a 52 mile event. Cyclists get up to seven hours to complete the ride, and entries in advance are £6.
A free bike surgery and security marking will be available in Market Place, along with a competition for keen cyclists and a display from Keep Hatch Primary School.
The event runs from 10am to 2pm on Monday.
Visitors can sign up to a host of summer cycling events, including free family rides and cycling lessons for over 50s.
A series of free breakfast and lunchtime events are being run by the Travel Plan Plus (TP+) project to encourage commuting by bicycle.
TP+ will be setting up "Stop and Go" Cycle Stands on, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings (8am to 10am) at Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge Business Park and St John’s Innovation Park.
“Commuting cyclists and anyone thinking of cycling can come by and ask for advice on how to get started," Tony said. "You can sign up to the Big Bike Ride, pick up a free cycle map or stop to indulge in a breakfast treat.”
On Wednesday, TP+ will be hosting a free lunchtime bike maintenance taster session (12pm to 2pm) at Amgen, 240 Cambridge Science Park. "Learn how to quickly identify problems with your bike, fix a puncture and resolve brake and gear problems," said Tony Clayton. "This demonstration class can help anyone, from novice to regular cycling commuters needing a refresher.”
The week’s activities will end on Thursday with the TP+ Get Cycling Too! event at Cambridge Business Park. “Bring your own bike along and get a free Dr Bike health check provided by Outspoken,” Tony added. “Visitors can also make their own pedal-powered smoothie, try out a fantastic range of electric bikes, get advice and maps or sign up to the Big Bike Ride.”
Gainsborough Aegir and CTC cyclists will be at the Riverside Festival on Saturday to give advice and training demonstrations. On Sunday cyclists of all abilities can take part in a sponsored ride for the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance - distances of 10, 15 and 30 miles, along with a toddler ride - all starting at 10.30am from Gainsborough Adventure Playground.
Free 31-point visual bike safety checks will also be available all week at Church Street Cycles.
On Sunday 24th June there will be a leisure ride of 120 miles to York.
West & Wales
Rock up to Pontllanfraith House for a Bike Breakfast every day next week, or join in a lunchtime cycle and have a go on an electric bike.
Find out more
For more information about all these Bike Week events and to find out what else is going on near you, visit www.bikeweek.org.uk.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.