The Big Bike Revival visits the Highland Cycle Ability Centre
The Big Bike Revival visits the Highland Cycle Ability Centre

The Big Bike Revival visits Cantray in the Scottish Highlands

This summer Cycling UK is working with 100 groups and centres in Scotland to get even more people back on their bike for everyday journeys. The Highland Cycle Ability Centre held a Big Bike Revival event and they were inundated with people wanting to learn more about inclusive cycling.

In 2016, the Big Bike Revival worked with 81 community groups and organisations across Scotland to encourage more than 7,000 people to rediscover the joys of cycling. We’ve worked with groups across the length and breadth of the country, and in 2017 the Big Bike Revival is working with 100 groups and centres in Scotland to get even more people back on their bike for everyday journeys. In Highlands, the Highland Cycle Ability Centre is one such organisation working with the Big Bike Revival.

Based in Cantray, the centre provides cycling opportunities for all abilities but specialises primarily in offering cycling activities to people with disabilities. Established back in May 2013 and supported by Watermill Foundation, the centre has gone from strength to strength and now receives over 2,500 visits annually to its facilities set in the tranquil Nairnshire countryside.

The Highland Cycle Ability Centre participated in the Big Bike Revival in autumn 2016, supporting events in Inverness and Stornoway. With so many standard and specialised cycles available, the centre decided to host its own fully inclusive Big Bike Revival event this summer.

Many individuals and groups from local schools, day centres and support organisations visit regularly throughout the year but Manager at the Highland Cycle Ability Centre, Gareth Jenkins, believes there are still many people out there unaware of the cycling opportunities available to them.

“An amazing place – peace, quiet, space, no pressure! A place to feel safe and enjoy cycling without traffic.” - Participant

“We have the facilities and resources to give people an all-inclusive experience of cycling,” Gareth says. “Our adapted cycles are perfect for families. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see grandchildren taking their grandparents for a cycle in one of our side-by-side two person bikes, creating lasting memories for both? The Big Bike Revival will inspire people to become more active and healthy through regular cycling both here at the centre and within their local community.”

The Highland Cycle Ability Centre put on lots of activities for participants at their Big Bike Revival events, with two open days at the end of May to entice new riders onto cycles. People were given free bike health checks and maintenance by a qualified bike mechanic, free food and refreshments were on offer, and over 100 people came along to try out different bikes and get cycling.

Centre staff and volunteers supported participants to try cycles including side-by-side quads, tandem cycles, handbikes, trikes, off-road karts, running bikes, side-by-side Draisin Twister and even a unicycle. Young people with additional support needs from a local secondary school undertook bikeability training to increase their cycling skills and confidence, and the centre accepted unwanted bikes and helmets to recycle.

Feedback from participants was positive, with the traffic-free environment a real winner.  Low-traffic and traffic-free cycling opportunities are key to encourage new and novice cyclists to get riding more frequently and build confidence, with comments from participants backing this up: “An amazing place – peace, quiet, space, no pressure! A place to feel safe and enjoy cycling without traffic.”

Other people were delighted to learn about the Big Bike Revival and the Highland Cycle Ability Centre, with one participant saying “Fantastic place. First time here and will definitely be back. Have taken a pile of leaflets to hand out at our next Downs Syndrome Highland Group meet up.”

Thanks to the Highland Cycle Ability Centre for spreading the joy of cycling through the Big Bike Revival. If you’re interested in Cycling UK and all-ability cycling, learn more with our other inclusive projects and activities across the UK.