Christmas is almost upon us. It is always good to remember (and to remind the kids!) that Christmas isn’t always about spending and getting stuff but also about giving as well.

Have you got unwanted kids’ bikes? – If your children are receiving new bikes this Christmas, what are your plans for their old one? The Syrian refugee families that Colchester has welcomed into our community are keen to cycle as a means to get around. Cycle Colchester are supporting them to make this happen.

If your child’s old bike is in good condition, could you donate it to one of the refugee children?

They need:

1 x girl’s bike for a 10 year old

1 x girl’s bike suitable for a 7 year old

3 x boys’ bikes suitable for 9/10 year olds

3 x boys’ bikes suitable for 8 year olds

1 x boy’s bike suitable for a 6 year old

If you can help please email us at with details about the bike on offer, size and a photo if possible.

Colchester Bike Kitchen will help the families ensure that the bikes are in good condition and are safe to ride.

Donating children’s bikes – Were you thinking of donating your children’s bikes to Re-Cycle? Having talked to them about potential bikes for the refugee children, Re-Cycle have made us aware that they no longer accept children’s bikes as demand from their African partners is for bikes with 20” wheels plus.

This leaves a gap in the market for doing something positive with unwanted children’s bikes – ideas welcomed!

Bike Kitchens – Having asked all our partners for their ideas on cycle related Christmas gifts and continuing the spirit of giving, here are two suggestions that came from the Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen for a free gift you can give someone you love…

A bicycle ride – gift your time and cycling enthusiasm to family or friends and make a date to take them on a lovely ride to inspire them to get out on their bikes more often.

Accompany someone to a local Bike Kitchen to help get their bike checked over and ready to go!

Back to their opening times over Christmas.

Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen will be closed on Saturday 24th and Monday 26th but apart from that they will be open as usual all winter, Mondays 7pm, Saturdays 2pm.

Colchester Bike Kitchen will be moving to a new home next week – thanks to Firstsite they have an indoor space at 15 Queen Street, right next to their first home at the Waiting Room. Huge thanks are due to Marc and the Waiting Room community for helping them get established, not to mention Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen and Andy Woolf for sharing so much expertise, and their funders – Essex County Council, CCVS, Cycling UK and Cycle Colchester.

Opening times will stay the same (1-4pm on the first and third Saturday of the month) until they can get more volunteers to open more frequently.

Please note no more sessions will be available from the Waiting Room and the Colchester Bike Kitchen will start up again from their new location at 15 Queen Street on the 21st January 2017.

Donating adult bikes – Both Bike Kitchens have been asked if they want donated bikes to refurbish. Unfortunately neither have the room to store bikes but they can accept some parts.

As always we recommend donating unwanted adult bikes in decent condition to Re-Cycle who refurbish them and send them to Africa. If you can’t get to Wormingford where they are based, you can take them to their partner Halfords, who pass them onto Re-Cycle. 

If you want to start or do more cycling in the New Year, a couple of suggestions below.

Learn to Ride sessions with Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP)
We won’t be organising any school holiday Bikeability until Easter, however in the meantime if you are interested in the 45 minute Learn to Ride sessions for children 5 years and up and adults who have never mastered cycling, you can book these directly with Safer Essex Roads Partnership for just £10.

Visit the Safer Essex Roads Partnership website then scroll down the page.

Mountain bike events – If you are interested in mountain biking, Mud Sweat and Gears offer events across the Eastern Region for all ages. Venues include Langdon Hills, Radical Bikes in Chelmsford and Hintlesham with new ones being introduced in 2017.

Find out more at the MudSweatGears website.

On the campaigning side, we highlight three important subjects for cyclists and drivers alike.

Drivers and cyclists are more alike than you think – Did you know 80% of cyclists hold a driving licence and 1 in 5 drivers cycle at least once a month, so drivers and cyclists are often the same people? 

‘Drivers and cyclists are more alike than you think’ is the headline for the Safer Essex Roads Partnership’s Let’s Look Out For Each Other campaign to promote better awareness and understanding between cyclists and drivers. They visit secondary schools, stations and other key public places to talk to children and the public. At secondary schools they visit at the end of school, camp out by the bike sheds and chat to students about keeping themselves safe whilst cycling.

If your children’s secondary school would like a visit and hasn’t had one yet, give them a copy of the Let’s look out for each other leaflet and ask them to contact Hilary Wicks at  

A bike isn’t just for Christmas! – If your child is getting a bike for Christmas, where will you allow them to ride? A bicycle offers an amazing gift of independent mobility, a method to get somewhere without adults or cars…. but where will you allow them to ride and with how much supervision?

Perceived levels of road danger – by parents, but also by kids is a key barrier to this freedom. There may be traffic free paths available, but how do children reach them safely if they are not on their doorstep?

As both adults and in many cases drivers we need to provide streets that everyone can use. One way this can be achieved is by introducing 20 mph speed limits in built up areas and by drivers complying with them.

20’s Plenty say that ‘Wide area 20mph limits are a terrific boost to cycling and active travel for all ages. In Edinburgh, parents doubled permission to play out in 20mph areas and cycling to school trebled. The power to introduce 20 mph limits is in the gift of local councillors.

If this interests you find out more below and contact your local Councillors asking for safer, quieter, less polluting 20mph limits today.  For more information visit the 20’s plenty website

British Cycling – petition to change the Highway Code – Whether driving, cycling or walking, negotiating a junction is the most hazardous manoeuvre you make on the road. Two-thirds of all collisions take place at junctions. This increases to three-quarters of all cycling collisions. British Cycling are campaigning to change the Highway Code rules on junctions and introduce one universal rule that is to always to give way to people going ahead or crossing a junction including cyclists and walkers.

This type of universal rule has already been shown to be effective at increasing road safety for people walking and cycling in other countries.

If you would like to know more and sign the British Cycling petition, here is the link.

Increase in cycling – Ending on a positive note for cycling in Colchester. Essex County Council monitor cycle movements across 14 locations in urban Colchester. Over the period 2007 to 2015 cycle movements have increased by an encouraging 10%.

On a final frivolous note, some other last minute Christmas ideas from our partners

If you haven’t got a Christmas tree and want a DIY project, how about making a tree out of recycled bike parts! Cycling UK tells you how!

If you are looking for something humorous, Colchester Cycle Campaign suggests this guide to the country’s worst cycle lanes

From our colleagues in Essex County Council’s sustainable travel team – something for the future – not on the market yet but looks interesting – the EcoHelmet !




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