For over two years Push Bikes has been leading weekly cycling rides for less confident riders. Calling ourselves Bournville Gentle Cycling we choose to cycle on paths, through parks and on quiet suburban roads, avoiding traffic wherever possible. Over the years we have had over 50 participants and regularly get 20 riders on any day whatever the weather, so we must be satisfying a need. "It's one of the best things I ever joined!", as one participant said.
It is noticeable how, after only a few rides, competence increases and skilled manoeuvres become second nature. As a result most people will now be confident to undertake any local journey on a bike rather than get in the car or use public transport; it opens up opportunities for a more leisurely, sociable and friendly life style. There will of course always be reservations of cycling in traffic which will deter many from regular commuting unless they are able to find less hazardous routes.
It is an informal group so we make it clear that participants accept that they do so at their own risk. Of course the leader will take care to warn of any hazards and ensure no one is left behind, though another of his (or her) jobs is to ensure we stop at a convenient coffee shop.
At the break we discuss future rides, recently including an occasional longer outing, any bike maintenance problems, as well as friendly chat. Last Saturday after the ride we held (at a suggestion of one member) a Christmas lunch which 25 people attended.
We hope to continue to attract new riders, and to encourage the more confident ones to explore other cycling activities.