Newbury to Didcot Railway Line: Spokes is working with West Berkshire Council to try and reopen sections of the Newbury to Didcot railway line as a public right of way open to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. We are starting with the section between Hermitage and Hampstead Norreys. Highways England is working to transfer ownership of the bridges and a strip of land to West Berkshire Council as a first step.
Bike Loan Scheme: As the result of a charitable donation, Spokes has been able to buy eight reconditioned bikes from the Community Furniture Project in Newbury, and supply them, with a helmet and lock, for long term loan to children in West Berkshire schools who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a bike. This enables them to take part in Bikeability training and to continue to cycle afterwards. These bikes are loaned to each child for as long as they need them or until they grow out of them. We hope to provide more bikes to local families in the future and get more kids cycling.
Cycle Training: Spokes has paid for a number of its members to become Bikeability instructors. These people go on to offer training to both children and adults, giving them the skills and confidence to be able to cycle in modern traffic conditions. Spokes has its very own Bikeability guru in Caroline Lane – not only is she a Bikeability instructor, she also trains up new Bikeability trainers and is a Bikeability assessor, so she knows her stuff!
Dr Bike: A number of our members have completed the Cytech Home Mechanic cycle maintenance course. This enables Spokes to offer a Dr Bike service (with support from Banjo Cycles) where our mechanics undertake bike adjustments and minor repairs free of charge, as well as offering advice and guidance on all matters cycling, including cycle training, safety and leisure and commuting routes. We run occasional workshops and Dr Bike sessions throughout the year, so keep an eye on our calendar page for details.
Cycle Count: Spokes carries out three cycle counts per year, in February, June and October at 17 sites from Hungerford in the west to Tilehurst in the east. This helps to highlight changes in cycling activity over time and gauge how successful local policies and infrastructure improvements have been in terms of getting more bums on saddles. West Berkshire Council pays us to carry out the counts and this provides Spokes with the majority of its annual income, enabling us to fund all our other projects.
Cycle Audit: One of Spokes’ early achievements was a Cycling Map of Newbury and Thatcham, which was produced after a detailed audit by Spokes members. That helped get more people out on bikes. West Berkshire Council has now asked if Spokes can carry out another audit of the urban cycle network in Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford. This will help inform how the cycle network can be improved – including for the various new developments that are planned. We need to identify gaps that could be filled, junctions that could be improved etc. Anything that would make life a little easier and safer for a cyclist. Reading Cycle Campaign are covering Theale and the Reading fringe. We are using the Cycling Route Audit Tool that was developed for the Welsh Active Travel Design Guidance and which has been endorsed by the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain.