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Bike life

13 Sep 2013
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Become a supporter

Social enterprises have long thrived in Bristol, and several cycling organisations are run on a non-profit basis. There’s the Bristol Bike Project, which repairs and recycles old bikes, and Life Cycle UK, which provides free cycle training for locals. The delightful quarterly Boneshaker magazine, written by local cyclists, sums up the prevailing attitude: “it's not how much your bike weighs that matters, but where it takes you”.

One other non-profit is the city’s new cycle café, Roll for the Soul. Located just off Quay Street, it offers coffee and sandwiches, beer and spanners – what else could a cyclist need? There’s also a ‘hub’ event space for local cycling groups to use.

And famously, the biggest cycling charity of all is based in Bristol. Sustrans started as a local cycling campaign and has since blossomed to run a nationwide network of bike routes, but it’s still very active in the area. One of its founders, George Ferguson, is now the (cycling) mayor of Bristol.

The local campaigning role has been taken up by the Bristol Cycle Campaign, which tirelessly fights for safer routes in the city. It recently launched a ‘Bristol Cycling Manifesto’, which aims to raise cycling to 20% of city travel by 2025. There’s also a monthly Critical Mass ride.

You’ll see all manner of bikes around the city. The terrain is unforgiving (though kinder than Bath’s!), and that makes low-geared hybrids and lightweight drop-bar bikes particularly practical. But Dutch bikes, fixies, tandems and that-old-thing-from-the-back-of-the-shed are all common sights.