April 2020 Newsletter

It’s been a rather traumatic and topsy-turvy time to launch our newsletter as a monthly venture, but cycling is if anything more important than ever and we keep you informed about its impact on cycle shops and special offers for key workers. We also launch two new features. In Wheel Spiels we share Robyn’s adventures crossing the Pennines – discovering how difficult it was getting from Lancashire to Yorkshire even before lockdown. In Organised Cycling, we hear how a new local cargo business has helped distribute key supplies. But we start with a tribute to York cycling’s local hero.

Tribute to Paul Hepworth

Paul Hepworth, image courtesy of York Press.

We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Paul Hepworth, one of York’s best known advocates for cycling and a stalwart of York Cycle Campaign. Known online as “Pedalling Paul”, he made his case in a calm and rational way, refusing to rise to the invective so often flung at him. Andy Shrimpton tells us more about him here.

Wheel Spiels: Robyn’s Trans Pennine Adventure

How do you prove that you don’t need lycra, a specialist bike and weeks of training to tackle a long distance cycle route? You gather up your red patent high heels, animal print skirt and trusty Dutch bike and tackle the Trans Pennine Trail, of course. Read Robyn Jankel’s moving and entertaining blog about exploits that took her from agony to ecstasy and back again. In these days of enforced lockdown, settle down with a cuppa for an inspiring tale.

Organised Cycling: IndieGO 

Read Steve’s blog about IndieGO Delivery’s attempts to set up a zero emissions delivery service for independent businesses in York, and how Covid-19 has diverted them into getting essential medication to vulnerable residents and helping affected traders with their deliveries.

Cycling in a time of Covid-19

At a time when more people than usual are exercising by walking, jogging and cycling, and when cycling is one of the safest ways for key workers to travel to work, we need to help cyclists and pedestrians keep safe. We have emailed Councillor Andy d’Agorne (City of York Council Executive member for Transport) our ideas.

In some areas, for example around University of York campus, gates have been opened up and barriers relaxed, presumably to create more space and allow people to keep their distance more easily, and also to avoid the risk of people picking up germs from touching gates and barriers. Can the council spread this further such as the tricky entrances/exits to Hob Moor? 

Walmgate Stray with gates opened
Hob Moor barriers causing a bottleneck

The council is recommending that cyclists use the roads instead of walk/cycle routes (in order to maintain social distance measures), but members have reported increased scary close-passes by vehicles travelling faster on the quieter roads. Given that there is less traffic on the roads, we suggest temporary cycle lanes could be introduced in locations where close-passes are often a problem, for example all the river bridges, the Fishergate gyratory, and the Holgate iron bridge. 

Safe cycling ideas

Whilst we are still allowed out for exercise once a day, consult our suggestions for socially-distanced cycle rides around York. Ranging from 2-25 miles, they are suitable for a variety of ages, levels of fitness and experience – just remember to follow the appropriate advice for remaining away from others and cycle rather than drive to the start. Group rides are not allowed: you should only go outside alone or with members of your own household. It is important to look after your mental wellbeing, and getting out for a cycle ride is a great way to help do that.

Cycle shops: COVID-19 opening hours

When the government issued it’s list of essential services that were allowed to stay open we were pleased to see bicycle shops were included. This means key workers who rely on their bikes to get around can still get the support they need, as well as those of us opting to cycle for our daily exercise. Not all shops are open as usual though so we’ve compiled a guide on our website, although we’d recommend you check shops for the latest situation.

Support for key workers

Many cycle shops are also offering special assistance for key workers, here’s some of the schemes we’ve been told about:

Re-Cycle York are offering free bikes (limited number) and repairs (parts and labour included) to NHS staff (NHS card required). For further information contact them on 01904 848141 or through their website

Cycle Heaven is offering free bike loans (courtesy of Madison Cycles), a free cycling jacket, helmet and set of lights. If you’re a key worker and need a bike to get to work contact 01904 636578 or email info@cycle-heaven.co.uk

York Bike Belles have a few bikes available on free loan for 3 months to key workers, contact yorkbikebelles@gmail.com.

Poetry in Motion are offering 25% off everything (including labour) for key workers.

Nationally, Brompton has launched a crowdfunder to build 1,000 machines all to be painted in NHS colours for coronavirus-focused NHS staff.

Clementhorpe flood defence ongoing saga

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic all council meetings have been cancelled. The Clementhorpe flood alleviation scheme was due to be heard at a planning meeting this month. We are waiting to hear whether the planning decision will be decided by the council Executive instead, or postponed. The Cycle Campaign will be submitting an objection to the current plans, based on safety concerns in the Butcher Terrace area. We outlined some of our concerns in a newsletter sent out on 14th March. We encourage you to look at the plans and submit your own comments too. 

Update on YCC pub quiz

Originally billed as our February social and abandoned due to Storm Ciara, now the pubs are shut and Covid-19 is keeping people in their homes. But we will not be defeated! The quiz has been re-scheduled for 8pm on 24 April – venue: safely in your own houses, bring your own drinks and nibbles! More details to follow.

In Other News

Help wanted from members! You’ll see in this newsletter we are launching two regular features:

  • Wheel Spiels showcasing individual members’ cycling stories and perspectives on cycling. 
  • Organised Cycling looks at how different organisations use cycles in the course of their work, or their policies towards cycling.

If you know of a business, organisation or individual with a cycling story to tell, or if you want to share your own, please contact us. And if you have stories about how you’re beating the pandemic by bike, let us know by contacting YorkCycleCampaign@gmail.com.

Pryers Solicitors have some advice on their website about what to do if you’ve been in a cycling accident, which you can read here. We have started collaborating with Pryers on a project to try and make cycling safer in York. Due to current Covid-19 restrictions the project has had to be put on hold, but we’ll reveal all once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted!

The Cycle to Freedom ride mentioned in our last newsletter has unfortunately had to be cancelled for May 2020.

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