What is the Big Bike Revival? Check out our previous blog to find out! Know all about it? Please read on!
Our targets for this leg of the BBR were about 5 times more ambitious than the last stretch back in October, but that’s the way we like to challenge ourselves here in Platt Fields Park..
We decided on running two monster community events over consecutive weekends, with a cute kiddie mini event thrown in during half term week. Here’s how it all went – follow our Big Bike Revival journey in pictures…
After setting up in the morning of event#1 on 31st May in the grueling pouring rain and & freezing winds – we still got off to a flying start with a whopping great bike queue of poorly bikes forming for their “triage consultation” followed by a thorough operation by one of our five professional mechanics lined up for the busy afternoon ahead..
Each bike was given it’s own tag highlighting “areas of ill health” that had been identified in the triage – with the owner then free to go and enjoy the rest of the workshops at the events..
The mechanics then worked their wonders on various states of bicycles that were flooding in – thanks to funding from CTC, we were able to supply all of the parts and labour completely free. Work complete upon the steeds was then recorded on the back of the tag & returned, newly revived to its happy owner.. All we asked in return is that each person complete a short survey on their bicycle behaviour – and even then, they were entered into prize draw to win tonnes of ace bike goodies..
The bike queuing system and tags in full swing, expertly coordinated by Kat..
We laid on a bunch of workshops and activities to entertain people as they waited for thier bikes to be revived. Featured above was a highly popular jewellery making workshop using upcycled bike parts..
Delicious hot drinks were served up from the cargo bike coffee shop – people really did need warming up on that first Sunday!
Pedal powered tunes kept people cycling, even when their own bicycles were currently being dissected. We had bikes for different sized people meaning that everyone could have a go! We took requests for people’s favourite songs to pedal to – we appreciate that not everyone likes Balkan music as much as we do 😉
There were free hand and arm massages for all cyclists, expertly delivered by Lotte.
Delicious free smoothies were on offer to boost people’s energy into the afternoon – but of course, you had to pedal power your own concoction before enjoying!
Various art stations allowed kids to run wild with materials to jazz up their mini steeds. Here’s one example of a bike that got suitably blinged..
Then there was bicycle life drawing that kept people focussed for tremendous lengths of time!
We sold a good bunch of second hand bikes that we have been reviving at our Saturday open Tool Club sessions with volunteers – some of the new bike owners got involved with one of the several free puncture repair workshops that were happening throughout the events to equip them for the unfortunate eventually of getting a flatty. They were also directed to the TfGM instructors who were present and had a bike trailer full of free safety kit and advice for the roads..
Above is a picture of Manchester’s latest cycle new-comer receiving her brand new bike as a result of an in-house competition we ran through the afternoon of our second event on 7th June where we partnered up with North West Velo Fest. Ruth wrote a story about why she deserved to win the bicycle, kindly donated by Edinburgh Bike Co-op, and beat hundreds of other contestants to the winning podium. Ruth has never previously owned a bike and doesn’t drive so is completely reliant on public transport and getting fed up of it! Now she can glide across the city on this shining beauty of a bike – happy future of cycling Ruth!
As well as the organised activities, people had a great time simply hanging out – meeting new people, resting on their bikes, eating ice creams and enjoying being surrounded by the great grassroots cycling culture that we like to welcome so much at The Hub.. Happy biking atmospheres all around!
On Monday morning after all the events were said and done, we received this beautifully worded email from an event attendee – it’s comments like this that make all of the hard work pay off a hundred times over:
“On Saturday I fell asleep in Manchester, on Sunday I woke up in heaven – Platt Fields Park was full of bicycles. The Big Lunch had met the Big Bike Revival. We picniced on the grass while our children pedal powered the sound system and the smoothie maker. (Clothed!) models posed for Life Cycle drawing. Meanwhile an army of mechanics lovingly restored neglected bikes to full working order. Congratulations to CTC (the national cycling charity) for their funding and the Platt Fields Bike Hub and Envirolution for hosting the event. Now even more Mancunians of all ages can share the freedom and joy of cycling. So leave the car in the garage, get pedalling to work, school and everywhere – in sunshine and even (occasional) rain.”
Now swooping over to the kiddie event that we ran alongside the turbo Sundays, [that we called “Kidical Mass” – what we thought to be a clever play on the epic monthly Critical Mass rides that take place in the city centre. ] This was a bike day for the little cyclists of Manchester..
Around 30 kids with their parents & carers appeared throughout the free bike servicing morning – we played bicycle games and got ready for the ride. 3 instructors guided the group through an animated “A,B,C,D” bike check as we ventured off around the park to practice snaking as a big group. A short stretch on the road for 1/4 mile took us to what we believe is south Manchester’s finest cycle-way provision : The Fallowfield Loop. We had tots as little as 6 and as old at 13 – creating a fine mix of the next generation of pedallers, we made it all the way to Chorlton and back – which was the furthest many of them had ever ridden.
A few “power stats” from our three events if anyone’s interested – just to finish off:
- 421 bike behaviour surveys completed
- 123 bikes revived – hooray!
- Over 600 event attendees
- Over 100 hours of paid staff to support the events – from mechanics, to workshop artists, to survey monkeys
Keep your eyes peeled on this website – or perhaps what proves to be little more punctual, our Facebook group for future events, rides and endless ways that you can get involved with our community project!