Wednesday, 16 May 2012

More & More Oldies Taking to Their Bikes

Prior to me moving into this over 60s complex, there was no such thing as a "bike shed" on the grounds.  There were/are two covered areas for housing mobility scooters, each one having the space for 7 scooters including electricity points, but nowhere to house a bicycle, not that anyone owned a cycle anyway.

Being as how I already owned an electric tricycle when first moving in here I made enquiries to the office about how and where I could put my trike when I moved in.  They gave me one of the vacant spots in the mobility scooter area at the same price of £10 per quarter for the cost of electricity on the understanding that I would have to give up that space to a scooter if required.  The receipt I was given on paying the first quarter, was clearly marked as a mobility scooter receipt and even had an image of a scooter printed on it.  So on those terms it was clear that the two areas were indeed only for mobility scooters.

However,  2 quarters later, the look of the receipt for all, including mobility scooter holders had changed.  There now appeared on it an image of an electric cycle instead of a scooter, although the receipt still states "Rental of buggy store for quarter ending blah, blah".

Did this change in order to stop any complaints from residents that the store was for scooters and not bikes?  Did it change because the office now realise that there are "oldies" that are going to come along that will want to cycle?

I have since sold my electric trike and bought a manual one, but have not mentioned to the office that I no longer need access to power, for the simple reason that I do not want to have to give up my space in those sheds/area because where would I put my trike then.   But that's by the by.

Many of the residents remarked to me when first seeing me on my trike, that they would love to, or are thinking about, taking up cycling again themselves.  There have been quite a few conversations about cycling, and one of the points brought up has been, "Where would we store a cycle if we got one?" - My advice was ring the office, tell them you want to buy a cycle, and see what they say.

One couple did this and the next thing we know is that a medium sized garden shed large enough to hold 2 bikes had been erected in a discrete spot on the grounds.  Less than a month later, yet another shed appeared next to it.  Word was spreading and already now 4 "oldies" had been out and bought themselves bikes.

In the middle of last year, a new chap, Roger,  moved in on my floor and whilst welcoming him to the block he tells me that the only thing wrong with moving here is that he couldn't bring his bike.  Of course I tell him to ring the office, and a few days later there was yet another medium sized garden shed erected in another part of the grounds and a key was given to Roger.

At that point we were up to 6 of us "oldies" in this fairly small complex all owning and riding a cycle.

Then last October a chap I know from volunteering my services with a national charity, Barry, moves in to one of the other blocks and on him spotting me in the grounds one day cleaning up my trike he comes out and mentions how he would love to cycle again and might buy himself a second hand one.  I tell him about the bike sheds, he rings the office and a key for a shed, sharing with Roger, was popped through Barry's door a few days later.

Today I welcome a new lady to our floor by the name of Chris and invite her in for a cup of tea.  I explain various things she needs to know about the complex, such where the Dining Hall is, and her allocated area for storage on our landing and so on.  She tells me a little about herself and family and how the first thing she did when she knew she was moving into this complex was to go and buy a fold up ladies bike for personal transport.  Wow I thought, another one of us.

So, as far as I know there are now 8 of us at least since I moved in a couple of years ago, that are now riding bikes.

I get the feeling that if this carries on then the office are seriously going to have to think about building a more solid brick shed on the same par with the electric sheds/areas, including a few power points for those that might own an electric bike.  One large brick structure will look far better and house more cycles, that spotting garden sheds all over the grounds.

6 comments:

  1. That is great - cycling is such a good way to get around and a good way to get exercise. I have a storage problem too (and building a shed is certainly not an option!) so I decided to get a Montague folding bike. It's great because I can keep it in my closet, and it's great for riding on roads and trails too.

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  2. That's a nice bike Jess. I really wish I could ride a 2 wheeler sometimes. I love my trike but a 2 wheeler would be more convenient sometimes.

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  3. That's really great Sandy! Always nice to see when people are open and realize that there are people who are into cycling and have needs for there cycles, be it cycle lanes/paths, storage, etc...
    The world of cycling is opening up more and more every day over here too. It's slow going but still going in the right direction.
    Maybe all you guys could get together and have rides from time to time. :-)

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  4. It is getting better in this country in as much as they are now allowing shared cycle/pedestrian paths and putting in cycle lanes along many main roads, but our cycle lanes are literally a white line about 2ft from the gutter, which the majority of motorist tend to think is a great place to park.

    Completely segregated cycling as in the Dutch style is still being argued over, with the lycra brigade saying they wouldn't be fast enough and the fast commuters saying the same.

    Trouble is with all cycling discussion it seems that cities are only being discussed and the ordinary person that would like to use a bike at a more steady pace for general everyday travel, the school children, and those that would like to get on their bike but are too scared, are being left out of the equation.

    Councils are paying lip service to the governments orders of getting people on their bikes and as long as they can say that they have stuck a few signs up on a pavement or painted a while line on a road, they really don't give a crap about the cyclist. Motorists needs are always put first.

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  5. Oh I know what you mean. Many bike lanes here are also just a white line painted on the side of the roads. But there's more and more laws coming out to protect the cyclist too.

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