Cycling UK yesterday launched the first of a series of ‘Pumped Up Crews’ in Birmingham and Manchester. The volunteer crews – described as “a pedal powered version of the AA” – come in response to the huge increase in new cyclists since the start of lockdown.
According to Global Data figures from June, around 1.3 million UK consumers have bought a bike since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.
The aim with the Pumped Up volunteers is to make those people feel more confident and happier on the roads.
The crews – identified by their bright purple, yellow and pink Pumped Up T-shirts – are all experienced cyclists and several members work in the cycling industry.
They are there to offer on-the-spot bike maintenance; tips on cycling safely; local cycling knowledge and directions; and support and encouragement.
“With a 146 per cent increase in cycling since March it’s never been more important to help new and returning cyclists feel welcome and supported on the road,” said Cycling UK’s Jenny Box. “We like to think of them as the pedal powered version of the AA.”
Manchester crew member Vicky Palethorpe added: “A lot of people might feel a bit nervous if they’re new to cycling so we’re here to help. If you see us we can help with advice, fix a tyre (if it’s not too damaged) or just give you some socially distanced high fives.”
Along with this new scheme the charity is also launching further pop-up Dr Bike schemes offering bike maintenance as part of its Big Bike Revival.
This initiative helps returning cyclists get back on their bikes by providing basic bike repairs, safety checks and online training.