David's back on his bike thanks to Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme
David took up cycling a couple of years ago, picking up a used bike to get around his local area of Dalmarnock in the east of Glasgow. He also wanted a way to improve his fitness without having to join a gym, so cycling was perfect for the job.
Although the bike was in reasonable condition when he bought it, wear and tear, along with punctures acquired along the way took their toll and put the bike out of action.
During the lockdown stage of the coronavirus crisis, David wanted to avoid public transport, but without the bike he was limited to walking for essential journeys. He said:
“I was the director of a small business consultancy before I started a postgraduate course in Global Environmental Law and Governance at Strathclyde University last year, but I wasn’t eligible for any sources of income support, like the furlough or self-employment scheme. I wouldn’t have been able to afford to get my bike fixed without the scheme.”
The Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Cycling UK. It provides up to £50 of free servicing and repairs at over 290 participating bike shops across Scotland. The scheme is aimed at people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access these services.
It was brilliant being back on the bike, even having the first ride back home from the shop gave me a sense of freedom after only being on foot since lockdown
David checked in with CamGlen Bike Town, a social enterprise cycle project serving the communities of nearby Cambuslang and Rutherglen. They were able to bring the bike back to life with new tyres, tubes, cables and a chain. Although the total cost of the work was over £50, David was able to cover the difference with money he’d received for a recent birthday.
David felt the exhilaration of being back on the bike straight away. "It was brilliant being back on the bike, even having the first ride back home from the shop gave me a sense of freedom after only being on foot since lockdown."
It wasn’t long before he also felt the health and fitness benefits of being back on the bike after a spell away.
“My fitness suffered in lockdown as I wasn’t going out much, so riding anywhere is exercise. My fitness hasn't returned to the peak I was at - but the hills are certainly helping build my legs up!”
David has been using the bike for a range of everyday journeys like shopping, and to attend a hospital appointment at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary to the north of the city.
He has also used the bike for leisure, enjoying the sensation of being outdoors after spending much of his time indoors during lockdown. A highlight was a trip around Glasgow to explore and photograph the city and its landmarks like the famous Cathedral, which is the oldest building in Glasgow and the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland, dating from the 12th century.
Having the bike has also prompted David to explore the area much closer to home. Despite having lived in Glasgow for six years, since he moved to the city to join Scottish Power’s graduate programme, there were paths he hadn’t yet cycled on.
One of these is the Clyde Walkway and Cycle Route, which forms part of National Cycle Route 75 and passes his home in the Commonwealth Village, leading west to Glasgow Green, before arriving in the heart of the city centre. Thanks to his newly fixed bike, David now enjoys the combination of riverside scenery and interesting historic buildings on his doorstep.
As for his immediate plans, David has just completed his dissertation and is now looking for a job. In the meantime, he has a chance to consider some more adventurous rides to undertake in the future:
“I might manage to ride a little further to explore the riverside path to the east. Or I might do the Glasgow to Loch Lomond ride along the NCN 7 once I feel fit enough to manage the 40 miles there and back!”