South Liverpool is going cycling mad this autumn, with a new-look programme of free bike rides giving everyone the chance to discover the city on two wheels.
Sustainable transport organisation Sustrans has recently taken over guided bike rides in the south of the city, as part of their ‘Fresh Air Miles’ initiative. The family-friendly rides, led by volunteers, have been re-launched under the banner of ‘Cycle Liverpool South’.
Cyclists of all abilities are welcome to take part in the free rides, which continue the success of the city’s popular Cycle Aigburth and Cycle Speke rides.
The Sustrans rides leave:
• from Aigburth, every Sunday at 10.30am – meeting at Mossley Hill Hospital Car Park, Park Avenue.
• From Speke, every Saturday at 10.30am – meeting at Speke Fire Station, Cartwrights Farm, off Speke Hall Avenue.
Taking in the sights and sounds of south Liverpool, the rides use local cycle routes to visit places like the Mersey Promenade, Calderstones Park, Speke Hall and Speke Garston Coastal Reserve.
The routes, which include on-road stretches, are led by trained volunteer cycle leaders, who are on hand to help improve people’s confidence and develop their cycling skills.
Rides last for approximately 90 minutes – except for the ride on the last Sunday of every month, which is two to three hours long and is designed for more confident cyclists who want to explore further – visiting Liverpool Loop Line, Croxteth Hall and Hale Lighthouse.
The rides are open to all, but under-18’s should be accompanied by an adult, and participants must have a roadworthy bike. If you don’t have a bike, don’t worry! A limited number of pool bikes are available to book in advance by calling Alice on 07799037044 or e-mailing Alice.Rickwood@sustrans.org.uk
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Tim Moore, said: “Cycling in Liverpool continues to go from strength to strength, with an ever-growing programme of free events. The Sustrans rides are a great opportunity for adults of all ages, young people, families, cycling enthusiasts and biking beginners to get out-and-about, discover some of south Liverpool’s hidden gems, meet new people and get some exercise.
“There is so much on offer for cyclists across Liverpool at the moment – so if you’ve been thinking about taking up cycling for the first time, or building on your skills, there’s never been a better time to get on your bike.”
Amanda Dufresne, one of the volunteer ride leaders, said, “I love cycling and the way it has changed my life. I only learned to ride a bike three years ago and now couldn’t imagine life without two wheels. I want to encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of the amazing benefits and immense fun that cycling has opened up to me.”
The Cycle Liverpool South rides complement a range of other free bike rides taking place across the city.
Choose Freedom North Liverpool – funded by the Department for Transport through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund – has regular rides for adults in and around the north of the city. Rides take place on Tuesdays, 1-3pm (for all) and Thursdays 10.20am-12.30pm (women only), starting at Breckfield and North Everton Neighbourhood Council, Breckfield Road North. An additional community ride takes place on Fridays 11am – 12.15pm, leaving from Everton Park Lifestyles Centre, Great Homer St.
The ‘Liverpool Wheels for All’ rides use adapted bikes to make cycling accessible for individuals, groups and families who are unable to ride a two wheeled cycle due to a physical and/or learning difficulty, in a safe, traffic free environment. Rides take place every week at Greenbank Sports Academy, Wavertree Sports Park, and Walton Hall Park.
Liverpool Community Health’s free Cycle for Health rides, which take place from Monday to Friday in different parts of the city, help people get back on their bikes even if they haven’t cycled for a while.
And the Liverpool Visually Impaired Tandem Club, which runs weekly sessions, welcomes new members who want to develop their skills on a bicycle made for two.
For more information about all the free cycling programmes on offer in Liverpool, visit www.liverpool.gov.uk/cycling and click on ‘Bike Rides’. To book a place on a ‘Wheels for All’ session, call Daniel Coonan on 0777 2161 710 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.