Reading girl restores a classic - with the help of Cycling UK

Laura's classic (refurbished) Peugeot

Reading girl restores a classic - with the help of Cycling UK

Laura Brooks wanted a new bike but couldn't afford to buy one. However, with the help of a Cycling UK project in Reading, she learnt the skills to help her transform an old racing bike into a beautiful classic.

I have always been a keen leisure cyclist, explains Laura Brooks. I have a Ridgeback, complete with a basket and flowers, which has always been good enough. My ‘ladies’ bike gets me from A to B and on a few trains,  through a few stations, that is all. However, the more you cycle the more you feel the need to own a whole fleet of bikes.

However, my dream was to own a ‘racer’. It all started when I kept gazing at other people's bikes. I found I was particularly drawn to racing bikes: the lightness, the speed! It was already too late, I wanted one long before I ever admitted it to myself, but knew I would never be able to afford a new one. 

What more could I ask for? Lots of new knowledge, skills and a new bike, all for a small donation!

Laura Brooks

I thought about trying to get one through a police auction, but you can’t go and look at it before you place your bid, and how are you supposed to know what condition it is in? If it was in bad condition I didn't really have the skills needed to do up or fix a broken bike.

However, Cycling UK Cycling Development Officer Javed Saddique has started a project that recycles bikes which had become useless, forgotten items, left behind by Reading University students. They are collected up and used to give people first-hand experience of the skills to they need to fix up and renovate a bike.

I was given the chance to learn to clean chains, pump up tyres and change wheels. But that is not the best part: once the bike has been revamped and given a new lease of life, you will then have the chance to walk away with the newly refurbished bike, which you have just restored!

I attended a maintenance course for a few weeks and at the end I was able to ride away with my ‘new’ racer for a small donation to the project. I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous, white, ladies Peugeot. I am completely in love with it and feel confident about my new skills!

To find out more email javed.saddique@cyclinguk.org.uk, who works in partnership with Cycling UK, Reading Borough Council and Reading University, helping more people to get cycling!

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