A model for other neighbourhoods?
Cycle Winchester has been deeply impressed by the weekly Cycle Bus, established from Colden Common and Twyford to Winchester schools, so we asked Hannah, one of the organisers, to tell us a little more about it. We hope this successful initiative will be replicated in other neighbourhoods. Here’s what Hannah told us…
Living and cycling in and around Winchester, you will no doubt be aware of the current woeful provision of safe cycling infrastructure. But we didn’t let that get in our way! We want to normalise cycling, making it a natural choice for anyone getting around the city. And we especially don’t want a whole generation of children to miss out on this while waiting for decent cycle lanes… so we have set up The Cycle Bus. What is The Cycle Bus? Well, it’s basically a rolling cycle lane with timed stops and pick ups. The children and less experienced cyclists go on the inside and experienced adult riders protect them at the front, back and on the outside. We travel together as one group or ‘bus’.
We started the first weekly cycle bus along the Colden Common-Twyford-Winchester route for students attending Westgate and Kings Schools and for commuters. This current route is the first and only secondary school Cycle Bus in the country! And it’s been incredibly successful! We have had a great uptake with lots of regular riders. It’s fun to be involved, and really sociable; those who have time often go for a coffee after the last stop.
We hope that this Cycle Bus will be the first in a Winchester-wide network of weekly cycle buses and so we are aiming to set up more routes this year. If we can do it from Colden Common, it really can be done from anywhere! You don’t need much to get started: some regular volunteers who have been inducted in cycle bus management; an initial ride to work out timings and plans for dealing with potential hazards and problem junctions; and some equipment: eg tabards, a trailer and cycle cam. We have applied (in conjunction with Cycle Winchester) for funding for more equipment to support further routes and are looking for volunteers to run them. If you would like to use a weekly Cycle Bus for your commuting or regular travel then join us!
If we can get a weekly cycle bus network around Winchester then ‘Wheelie Wednesday’ will make it easier for people to choose to ditch the car and cycle instead. There will be more visibility of cycling into and around Winchester and we hope people who may not normally feel safe to cycle will feel it’s accessible to them and give it a go. Ultimately it would be great if this led to better provision of cycle lanes and other infrastructure. In the meantime, we are taking matters into our own hands and creating our own mobile cycle lanes. Would you like to join us?
Please get in touch to find out more: email Hannah on firstname.lastname@example.org. We are more than happy to come and talk to anyone about setting up a new route and support you in doing so!
Tony, one of our founders, will be trialling a commuter shuttle cycle bus service along the Colden Common to Hockley Link corridor on 1st March. Here’s the timetable!