Big Bike Revival takes off on Bute

Big Bike Revival takes off on Bute

When Dave Hayes moved to the island of Bute in 2017, he envisaged spending his retirement relaxing. It hasn’t turned out quite like that…

Dave has been a cyclist for years and he is keen to encourage everybody to get on a bike and have a go! This passion led him to identify a gap on Bute – a group to put on activities and events to galvanise people into riding a bicycle – and the idea of Bute Community Cycling was born. The problem? How to get the group off the ground.


Dave and the group considered the barriers people face when returning to cycling. “For me, cycling is 75% confidence. It’s confidence being able to navigate through traffic; it’s confidence that if I go to the other side of the island, I’m alright if I get a puncture.” Dave said. 

I can’t highlight enough how important the Big Bike Revival was. It was the catalyst to develop something that we had in our heads, but didn’t know how to take the first steps. 

Dave Hayes, Bute Community Cycling

Dave was introduced to Ralph Jessop, the local Big Bike Revival (BBR) Development Officer with Cycling UK and decided to hold a BBR event on Bute. With a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude, Dave and a few like-minded friends formed the group and applied for a grant. In July 2018, Bute saw its first led ride from Rothesay town centre to the Mount Stuart Estate. On a beautiful summer day, over 50 adults and youngsters took part. “It was just an enormous success!” says Dave.

“I can’t highlight enough how important the Big Bike Revival was. It was the catalyst to develop something that we had in our heads but didn’t know how to take the first steps,” said Dave. 


Through BBR, Bute Community Cycling have, to date, accessed a programme of training to upskill their members. But, Dave says, just as importantly, “it’s all about the connections – the networking.”

The hugely positive feedback from the BBR event encouraged Bute Community Cycling to establish themselves more permanently.  

The group’s committee of five started actively looking for funding and thinking about how to encourage more local people to take up cycling. 

After a lot of hard work, they’ve managed to expand and secure significant funds, from Cycling Scotland – to establish three all-weather cycling repair stations - and from the National Lottery. 


Bute Community Cycling are now working with local schools to establish cycle training for under sixes – the first on the island; and to refurbish over 60 bikes to lend out and store on the Mount Stuart Estate.

Quite an achievement in nine months!

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