A SPECIAL bike scheme in Bishopbriggs is proving to be streets ahead.
Since it began in May 2009 East Dunbartonshire’s Cycle Co-operative has encouraged people across Bishopbriggs to take up cycling and it now hopes to expand its work, which includes providing cycle training, maintenance and guided rides, in 2011.
The idea for the co-op came to founder Mark Kiehlmann in August 2008 as he helped his son Patrick ride to school.
The group has now inspired cycle clubs at St Matthew’s, Meadowburn and Wester Cleddens primaries, as well as Turnbull High, and increased the number of pupils cycling to St Matthew’s Primary to almost 20 per cent – double the Scottish Government’s target of 10 per cent by 2020.
Mark said: “We have grown so much. It started with me taking my five-year-old to school on his bike and now we have got over a dozen local families that help run the co-op and provide cycle training and maintenance, guided rides and organise events within the Bishopbriggs community.”
In 2010 the co-op held a UK Bike Week-winning cycle festival and encouraged riders to take part in the Glasgow Skyride 2010 and Pedal for Scotland, a 51-mile ride between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The co-op also launched a cycle map in partnership with East Dunbartonshire Council.
Its work has been recognised nationally, with the group receiving awards for Modeshift Cycle Initiative of the Year 2009 and UK Bike Week cycle event image of 2010. It has also received funding from Sustrans, Cycling Scotland and the Climate Challenge Fund.
Politicians of all hues praised the group’s success in the Sustrans Hands Up Scotland survey, which showed its efforts had increased the number of pupils cycling to schools in Bishopbriggs to almost eight per cent – three times the Scottish average.
The co-op now hopes to continue its success by expanding its family Sunday club at Bishopbriggs Leisuredrome, establishing more after-school clubs and starting a nursery programme to get pre-school children on their bikes.
Mark added: “I’m delighted with the way the community has come on board and got on their bikes.
“I would like to see more support from the council to make the roads safer so more children and adults can cycle in Bishopbriggs.
“Our aim is to promote cycling to anyone. We just want people to enjoy cycling and have fun.”
For more information visit www.http://edscyclecoop.org.uk/