Loan bikes bring joy to lockdown riders

1 June 2020

Almost four dozen training bicycles sidelined during the pandemic have been loaned out free of charge to key workers in the Reading and Wokingham areas. 

“You’ve changed my life with the bike,” said one NHS worker who borrowed a bicycle from Avanti Cycling. She said that it had been a joy to ride as a family and leave behind the stress that had built up at home.

Avanti Cycling has a fleet of adult bicycles which are normally ridden by heavy goods vehicle drivers. Their training involves swapping the lorry driver’s seat for the bicycle saddle so that they gain a different perspective. 

“I am absolutely loving the bike, I managed to ride to work this morning,” said another key worker the day after picking up the loan bike at the beginning of May. 

One NHS worker said: “We loved it! I would never have known Steve (not his real name) would get this excited over getting a bike. We’ve been together for years and never ridden together. Thank you so much.”

Those who borrowed bikes were also given locks, helmets and optional training.

“I also really appreciate the cycling proficiency advice Nick gave us. It has made me feel much more confident on the roads,” said another rider. 

Greg Woodford, director of Avanti Cycling said: “My mission is to get more people onto bikes, so it’s been wonderful to see so many people taking up this free bike loan offer and getting so much enjoyment out of it.”

He said he was keen to set up training sessions so that those who borrowed bikes could also learn to do some basic maintenance.

The bike loan offer has been supported by charity Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival campaign as well as by  Wokingham Borough Council’s My Journey advisory service.