Barclays Bank, sponsor of London’s Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme and Barclays Cycle Superhighways, has announced that it is partnering with Bikeworks to hold a series of free roadside bike clinics in the capital over the next two months. Barclays has said that it doesn't plan to roll the initiative out to other UK towns and cities - but it does have a national helmet promotion in the pipeline.
The bank says it conducted research among more than 1,000 bike owners in London which shows that nearly three in five people are riding bikes that are unroadworthy, with common faults including nearly one in five bikes being ridden in the dark with no lights, and a little over a quarter having flat tyres.
Furthermore, Barclays says that lack of maintenance means that growing numbers of cyclists in London are experiencing a fault with their bike on a regular basis, leading it to team up with social enterprise Bikeworks to hold roadside safety checks over the next two months, in a repeat of an initiative launched last year.
The first of those took place yesterday evening at several key commuter routes, and will continue each Wednesday until 3 July. Those locations are:
Tower Hamlets: Every Wednesday, 8 May – 3 July
17:00-19:30: Cable Street and Cannon Street
Barclays Cycle Superhighway route: CS3
Kensington and Chelsea: Every Wednesday, 8 May – 3 July
17:00-19:30: Chelsea Bridge – South Side
Barclays Cycle Superhighway route: CS8
Lambeth: Every Wednesday, 8 May – 3 July
17:00-19:30: Kennington Park Road junction with Brixton Road
Barclays Cycle Superhighway route: CS7
Hammersmith and Fulham: Every Wednesday, 8 May – 3 July
17:00-19:30: Eel Brook Common
Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays Retail and Business Banking at Barclays, commented: “Our research reveals one in five cyclists don’t know how to do any bike maintenance whatsoever.
“At our bike clinics, cycles will get a free once-over by a qualified mechanic and cyclists will be given some basic bike maintenance tips.
“We want to inspire as many people as possible to cycle and our research shows 15 per cent of people would cycle more in London if they knew how to better maintain their bikes.”
Jim Blakemore, co-director of social enterprise Bikeworks, added: “More than two in five London cyclists have never had their bike checked by a professional bike shop technician.
“The 45 clinics Barclays is hosting around the capital provide everyone with the opportunity for a free bike check and our Cycle Into Work graduates are among the best mechanics in the country.”
It sounds like the sort of initiative to roll out in other UK cities - after all Barclays do have a national branch network - so we asked Barclays if they had any plans on this front, and here's their response:
Barclays is delighted with the success of Barclays Cycle Hire and Barclays Cycle Superhighways in London, and our partnership with the social enterprise Bikeworks. There are no plans to sponsor similar schemes in other locations, with London being a focus as it is the city of our global headquarters.
Many visitors to London are able to enjoy the benefits of the schemes, and some of our cycling initiatives - for example we are soon to launch a national helmet promotion - will naturally be available to a wider audience.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.