By Andy Hirst
A Huddersfield charity set up to provide free bikes to people who can’t afford them has provided more than 100 cycles to needy children this Christmas.
Streetbikes was founded in 2009 by Gill Greaves from Brockholes and has since recycled more than 12,000 bikes across Kirklees, mainly to people in need, the disabled, the vulnerable and those living in deprivation.
The Milnsbridge-based charity always gives as many bikes away as it can at Christmas.
Gill said: “In these turbulent times of the pandemic more families are struggling this Christmas so the bike giveaway this year is even more important than ever. There will be many smiling faces on Christmas Day. Streetbikes wants to make sure everyone gets the chance to get a bike for Christmas.”
Parent Sarah Fleming said: “That’s brilliant – there is nothing like getting a bike for Christmas.”
Streetbikes is committed to getting as many people to enjoy cycling as possible and believes it can be a great way to bond families together.
The two main weekly events held by Streetbikes are at the running track at Spenborough Fitness Complex on Tuesdays from 10.30am to 2.30pm and on Saturdays from 12noon to 3pm. People can borrow bikes and helmets and then cycle on the running track or on the nearby Spen Valley Greenway and many people from Huddersfield travel over each week.
Gill said: “We have trikes and wheelchair bikes so people with disabled children or relatives can come along with them to join in the fun. It gives them an incredible feeling of freedom. We call them mixed ability sessions – people who are just learning to cycle are more than welcome – and it’s all about families cycling together.”
Gill was working for Kirklees Council in 2009 and was co-chair of Kirklees Cycling Group when she realised there were very opportunities for women to go cycling so she set up a project to recycle a few bikes for woman to tie in with community cycling events and Streetbikes grew rapidly from there.
Over the years Gill has raised more than £1m for Streetbikes with £750,000 from the Lottery and £250,000 from other grants.
Streetbikes collects donated bikes, ensures they are roadworthy and donates them to people who otherwise would struggle to afford one. The charity also organises family cycling, women only rides and bike mechanic training.
Gill is married to Dave who helped her to set up Streetbikes and they have five children and six grandchildren.
The reason Spenborough is used for the cycling sessions is that it goes along the Spen Valley Greenway, an award-winning walking and cycling route along former railway routes ranging from densely populated urban areas to fantastic countryside, a wildlife reserve and moorland views on an 8-mile route from Ravensthorpe to Bradford.
For more on Streetbikes go to its website https://streetbikes.org.uk/ or its Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=streetbikes%20cic
Streetbikes always needs more bikes. To donate an old bike or to let Streetbikes know you’ll be attending a session at Spenborough contact the charity on 01484 654530, mobile 07873 773417 or email email@example.com
* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content Andy Hirst who now runs his own Huddersfield-based agency AH! PR specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting for business in Yorkshire and across the UK.