Open Meeting – October 2019

Bicycle Recycling

Charlie Adie from local Community Interest Company “Bicycle Recycling” gave a fantastic presentation on his organisation’s work with local employers and schools on bike maintenance. He told us that on that one day, he’d moved between an employment site in Havant, Castle View Academy in Paulsgrove, and a local adventure playground in Portsea.

He told us that Bicycle Recycling is predominantly about ‘bringing hope to young people’ through a self-sustaining, vibrant social enterprise that creates jobs and training for young people.
Bicycle Recycling is linked to Motiv8; a local youth charity where Charlie was previously the Chief Executive. Back then, he felt that his organisation just wasn’t bringing enough job opportunities to young people. He launched a Dragon’s Den style competition with a £30,000 prize to launch a new business offering these jobs for young people, and a bike recycling project was the winner!

Bicycle Recycling offers servicing and repairs, sale of recycled bicycles and sale of new accessories through three community hubs; maintenance courses, and hire bikes and fleet maintenance within the Naval Dockyard – including adventure bikes used on active service.

Charlie told us about his organisation’s arrangement with the national bike store Evans, who run a promotional discount on new bikes, when people trade in their old one. This was fine to start with, but in the height of the summer there were over 30 bikes a day coming their way. Thankfully, a local church provided some storage, helping them to repair and sell on over 600 bikes last year.

The organisation helps young people, including those facing some tough challenges in their lives, to gain skills, have some stability, build a CV and improve their opportunities for work in the future.

You can find more details of the organisation and how to pick up a bargain second hand bike from this excellent initiative at www.bicyclerecycling.co.uk

University of Portsmouth Travel Plan

Ian McCormack and Bethanie Hallas from the University presented the 2017-2020 Travel Plan covering 20,000 students and 2,500 staff.
The travel plan was written with support of transport planning consultants Hampshire Services and Atkins. It set out some key objectives such as reducing solo car trips and incentivising active travel.

The travel plan started out with a staff and student survey which identified that 14% of staff and 5% of students already cycle (pretty good against the national average).

They set targets to 2020 to reduce solo car use by 6%, increase car share and public transport by 3% and increasing walking and cycling among students.

A dedicated Park and Ride route has been established that runs through the University area (service PR2) – the challenge now is getting staff to use it. Time and cost are seen as the barriers at the moment, although the PR2 service is very reasonable at just £2 per carload.

A free term-term university bus route has been introduced from 7am to midnight which is proving very popular with students – demonstrating how easy it is to get about without bringing a car into the city.

Bethanie has recently been employed as the Sustainable Travel Coordinator and already set up a new discount with bus provider Stagecoach.

Ian admitted that the hardest bit of work so far has been the staff car parking policy. A two mile exclusion zone from the centre of the campus has been introduced meaning that staff can’t get a permit if they live in this zone. This has bought parking permits down from 1600 to around 800 in just one year. The parking price has also been increased for the average member of staff from £100 to £500 and they are hoping to see behaviour change as a result. The income will be used to develop sustainable travel initiatives as well as maintaining the car parks. This will be reviewed on an annual basis.

A cycle to work scheme has been launched whereby staff can buy a bike with tax deductions and pay over 12 months. It’s only been running a few weeks and already 25 members of staff have purchased a bike this way.

Training has been run for riders whose skills may be a bit rusty, as well as maintenance sessions to learn how to fix a puncture.

Staff and students are being encouraged to “love it – lock it” i.e. using two D locks instead of cable locks which are easier for thieves to break. Over 1,600 Sheffield hoop bike racks have been stickered with this message.

Even the academic staff are getting involved through supporting a government bid for Future Mobility Zone including mobility apps and freight logistics.

Last but not least, the University’s travel to work web pages have been updated to share all these new developments with all their staff. This includes a new google map showing the location of showers for those who get a bit hot and sweaty on the way in, and photos of the cycle parking facilities.

A super busy summer for our Committee members

Our Committee has been flat out all summer working for better cycle facilities throughout the city. Having lost around four members of the committee over the last 18 months, we are starting to hit the limit of what can be achieved from those still able to contribute some time to the cause.

We are particularly looking for local area champions who can be a point of contact for the committee who can advise or keep an eye on issues and projects around them. The Hilsea / Copnor / Fratton areas are of great interest to us as we do not currently have committee members living in those areas.

Other roles we are looking to fill are events organiser, website copywriter and communications Officer as all these have been restricted by the other work we have been under taking over the last few months.

Here’s just a taster of what we’ve been up to – if you’re interested in helping us out, and making a difference, get in touch at [email protected]

An overview of our summer activities can be found hereherehere.