Festival fun and free bike repairs

Festival fun and free bike repairs

By Alison Hill

Alison is Chair of Cyclox

It’s midsummer and festival season in Oxford city is in full swing.

The Eid Extravaganza at Cheney School on Sunday 30 April set the scene. The sunny weather drew people in to try out fairground rides and fun activities. Visitors could sample food at a large variety of refreshment stalls. It was a time to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the period of fasting. The joy of community was palpable.

Then there was the 20th Pride Festival on Saturday 3 June. Oxford turned rainbow coloured as the parade passed through the city centre, accompanied by drums and dancers. This was followed by a street party with live music, more food stalls and fun family activities.

The Headington Festival 2023 was held over the same weekend. On Sunday 4June there was a joyous festival in Bury Knowle Park with fairground rides, stalls, food, children’s activities, sporting events and cake.

Not to be outdone, the residents of East Oxford had their own festival – FloFest in Florence Park – on 17 June. There were market stalls, bands, live music, a dog show. The day was sunny and hundreds came to enjoy the fun.

Cyclox celebrates too

To mark our twentieth anniversary Cyclox had a stall at all these amazing festivals (and there are more to come). Our stall is a focal point for people interested in cycling, even if they are not themselves bike riders. We hold rich conversations about a variety of issues. We discuss our campaigns – what we are doing and what individuals can do to improve the cycling infrastructure.

It is an opportunity to talk about the challenges experienced by everyone who cycles in Oxford. Our big laminated map of cycle routes around the city is a focus of attention. People pore over it, looking at the routes they take and talking through their experiences at different spots. We ask them to point out their least favourite junction. Currently the record holders are the crossing points of the slip roads on the south and north sides of the Pear Tree roundabout – but there are many others and we are collecting input for our review of junctions.

Our stall has a bubble bike – a static pedal bike with a dynamo which drives a bubble machine. Children of all ages can produce waves of bubbles using their their pedal power.

Free bike repairs

For the last 3 years Cyclox has provided free minor bike repairs at Oxford’s summer festivals to help get people back on their bikes. For our twentieth birthday we wanted to do more of this.

Already this year we have repaired nearly 100 bikes.

Our mechanics are enthusiasts who love to see the improvement they can make to people’s safety and enjoyment of cycling.

Cyclox members devote a lot of time running the stalls, and our members’ subscriptions pay for the bike repairs, but what are these activities for?

  • We want to hear what people in Oxford think of cycling on our roads
  • We want to give them a voice.
  • We want to know about their experiences so that we can report to the County Council on what changes are needed to get more people cycling.

By inviting people to bring their bikes and get their brakes fixed, we have a chance to hear their concerns. We also engage more people to support our work by joining, helping or donating.

We will be providing bike repairs at the West Oxford Fun Day on 8 July, Rose Hill Summer Fête on 26 August and the Barton Bash on 23 September. Come along and find us there!


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