Real impact with Reading Cycling Challenge

Riders enjoy taking to their bikes in Reading
We caught up with Reading CTC's Karen Robertson to find out more about The Reading Cycle Challenge, which is all about getting people to try cycling.

Events run in Reading as part of The Big Bike Revival and Bike week saw an impressive number of people taking part to discover cycling. Reading Borough Council has actively encouraged motorists to get out of their cars and onto their bikes through an initiative – BikeSmart Reading - which rewards people for taking to the saddle.

The programme of activities that have been run through the BikeSmart project since March have been providing opportunities for local residents to get out on their bikes, and Cycling UK's Bike Week provided the perfect chance to promote free bike checks, fun rides and other events that helped to raise awareness of the benefits of cycling for all parts of the community.

We have been really pleased to see so many new cyclists coming along and we've had great feedback from participants. In fact, one lady I spoke to had never cycled before, but thanks to our support she is now ready to cycle confidently on the road.

Karen Robertson, Reading CTC

Over 10 events were run in Bike Week (10-18 June) alone, with a mix of workplace and community-based events. These included training sessions and bike maintenance tips as well as social rides. More than 200 people took part, with one event seeing over 100 people coming along with their bikes to enjoy the experience. (And it didn't end there - Reading CTC also had activities taking place as part of Women's Festival of Cycling, too.)

Karen, who is also the BikeSmart project lead, said: "I've cycled for leisure all my life, since I was four years old, in fact. I've been involved in Cycling UK for more than five years, volunteering through activities and campaigns like Bike Week. I love cycling and I'm keen to keep sharing my excitement for cycling, so others can discover the thrill and fun of riding their bike too."