Bike Week 2020

Our Committee shares what this year’s Bike Week (June 6-14th) holds for them

I am enjoying seeing all the families cycling – even those with really little children – now that there is less traffic. I know that many bicycle shops are busier than ever.  How great would it be if we could help families feel safe by having segregated, safe cycling routes?

Jake Backus, Cyclox Committee member and youth cycle coach

Alison Hill, Chair:

I have led a Bike Week ride every year for the last four years, called the ‘Traffic-Light-Free’ city cycle ride.  It has been great fun planning a route that avoids any traffic lights completely (although the use of pelican and toucan crossings is allowed to cross main roads). I am enjoying thinking back on the past rides, and imagining how many more people would have joined the ride this year, given that the streets are so much quieter, and the air cleaner. Cyclox is hoping to do a series of short routes for people in the city, and this traffic-light-free route will be one of them, so even if I can’t lead it, at least people will still be able to enjoy it. So, to celebrate bike week, I will go and do that ride.

As for other cycle related events during this week – much of them will be done sitting at my desk, writing emails, speaking on the phone, and attending Zoom meetings. I will also use the time to think about what the future might hold for cycling at this critical time, when we want to ensure that cycling is prioritised over motorised traffic, to avoid clogging up our streets as lockdown eases. 

Kathryn McNicoll, Honorary Secretary:

The Bikes for Keyworkers project will have me thinking about almost nothing but bikes: which bikes shall I allocate to which mechanics? Which mechanics have space to take another bike? How can we find more women’s bikes? This bike is ready – which keyworker shall I allocate it to? Have I matched them to the right-sized bike? How do we translate over 200 donated bikes into 200 more people being able to cycle to work? It’s wonderful but terrifying.   

I will also be thinking of how traffic is building up again and how we must not miss this golden opportunity to make Oxford a more liveable city with wider pavements for distancing pedestrians and safer separate cycle lanes. 

As we gradually ease out of lockdown, I will be thinking of all those people who have helped us through this difficult period: at least the keyworker bike project is a small way of saying thank you to some of them. 

I will be thinking about a friend who learned in the first week of lockdown that his cancer was terminal. I will think, on Tuesday, about a ZOOM lesson for the grandchildren.  And at least three times this week I hope to have a socially distanced walk with my 94-year-old mother along the pavement, marvelling at the colours of the flowers and the trees as we have done for the last few weeks. Through all the misery and the fear and the bewilderment at what has hit us, what an amazingly beautiful spring we have had.

Steve Unwin, Membership Secretary, has a long Bike Week to do list:

  • getting a neglected bike fit for for a keyworker to use:
  • taking the bike to another mechanic to check
  • delivering spare tyres to another volunteer mechanic
  • dismantling rejected bikes for spares
  • doing some maintenance work on my own bike
  • inspecting another donated bike to see if it’s repairable and bringing it home if it is
  • stocking up on cheap spares at Decathlon
  • completing checklists for repaired bikes
  • checking bikes repaired by other volunteer mechanics
  • cycling in and out of Oxford to complete all of these tasks
  • getting excited about possible emergency measures to make walking and cycling Oxfordshire safer, and more attractive 
  • feeling disappointed at the initial list of actions published by the Council and hoping these turn out to be better than they seem
  • attending Zoom meetings for the Bikes for Keyworkers project and Wheels for All – Oxford 
  • planning for the safe return of Wheels for All sessions
  • liking and forwarding tweets about all the good bike-related things going on
  • ignoring all the U-turns, spin, mis-truths and conflicting pronouncements from those who are supposed to be leading the country
  • getting out on my bike in the countryside to clear my head and reconnect with the natural world