Salford cycling group ‘Pedal Away’ are hoping that after a year of restrictions they can continue their social cycling events in 2021.
The Salford cycling group runs events for both beginner and more experienced riders, as confidence lessons and before the pandemic a social meet-up.
Like many other organisations, Covid-19 has had a toll and restricted them to how they can actually operate as a group.
Rob Salt who is the Salford Pedal Away co-ordinator spoke of how just how tough this year has been for the organisation:
“When the restrictions became less strict we had to devise a new system approach where pedal away would have removed all barriers when it comes to social cycling,” he said.
“We had to put barriers in place, so we couldn’t give bikes out for people who didn’t have bikes, so that meant our beginner rides had to stop.
“The social rides we had to restrict to six people so if you imagine the ride leader and a backmarker then that would mean four cyclists whereas the average would be about 15 to 20 people.”
One of the main things that people have been missing this year is the social aspect of their lives, and Pedal Away’s social aspect has definitely been a miss to the group.
“We had to remove the social impact of the rides,” he said.
“So whereas we’d find somewhere to ride, we’d ride there safely in a group, we’d stop for a social brew and a coffee for about an hour, catch up, that had to go.
“Because the social rides stopped we’ve never actually been able to get them back up and running.
“They are in demand and we hope to get them back up and running in February.”
According to the government, in England, 42% of people aged 5 and over, owned or had access to a bicycle in 2017 to 2019 combined.
This proportion has remained the same as previous years.
Whilst that is quite a high figure, it could be higher, and Rob has noticed the increase throughout 2020 in people cycling more.
He said: “I’m really happy there’s loads of people cycling, and I think through that more money that’s been put into Manchester for more cycling infrastructure, this will benefit us because we have more routes to travel on.
“In lockdown we worked with Salford health improvement service and made some videos so we could promote routes on greenspaces for these new cyclists because we couldn’t guide them physically, so we did it virtually.”
That is not the only way that Pedal Away have been helping out other people during lockdown.
Rob’s group was able to provide a charitable gesture for those on the front line.
He said: “Whilst our bikes haven’t been used, we’ve provided ten of ours to Salford Royal.
“[This is] so they’re not having to use public transport and they can get to work on a bike.”
As we head into the new year many of us hope that life will see a way of going back to normality.
If you would like more information on Pedal Away then visit their Facebook group by clicking here to find out more.