Pedal the Path Less Travelled

‘You absolutely can replace a car with a bicycle’

In order to once qualify for driving a taxi in London, potential cabbies had to pass an exam that required them to know the city centre by memory.

To accomplish this feat, drivers hopped onto bicycles with little maps attached to clipboards on their handlebars. They toured the city, learning all of the streets.

There’s no doubt today, people see more, interact more and experience more when they’re travelling on two wheels instead of four. That’s just one benefit of cycling in Peterborough.

B!KE, the Community Bike Shop, is gearing up for the season to support people who have a desire to discover riding and exploring the city on bicycles. March is the month to get started.

“We want to make cycling as accessible as possible for as many people as possible.”

“We want to make cycling as accessible as possible for as many people as possible,” Charlie Best, shop manager, tells Electric City Magazine.

“We do advocate for people using a bicycle as their main form of transport simply because it’s much more affordable. You absolutely can replace a car with a bicycle.”

One of the ways B!KE helps residents do just that is by keeping the prices of its refurbished bicycles low. A fully-refurbished and safety-checked adult bicycle starts at $85.

Cycling is more affordable than having and maintaining a car and there are obvious health and exercise benefits of this mode of transportation.

There’s an environmental impact too. While bicycles are made of rubber, plastic and petroleum products, “comparative to a motor vehicle, their footprint is tiny.”

B!KE’s mission encompasses teaching people to maintain, repair and ride their bikes. The shop provides a workshop space and tools for bicycles.

“We definitely get a pretty even mix of people who want to start doing it for leisure to people who want to start riding to and from school or work. We’ll ask them about the routes they plan to ride, the surfaces they plan on riding on and if they have to carry anything with them.

“Taking all of those things into account, we’ll kind of give them an idea of the kind of bicycle they’d want to buy. We have a wide variety of bicycles in the shop.”

B!KE relies on donations and volunteers refurbish those bikes. The shop has a number of resources on hand for cyclists such as route maps, safety information and more. B!KE can also offer many pointers for those wishing to replace their vehicle with a bicycle.

More than 450 members play a role in building B!KE’s community and providing financial support to its programming.

Members gain access to the “Open Shop” program and the tools, knowledge and guidance to maintain and repair their bicycles.

B!KE members can:

  • Use the workshop during Open Shop hours to repair their bicycles
  • Purchase used parts and bicycles
  • Store their bicycle at B!KE while actively working on it
  • Enjoy the knowledge that they have supported B!KE’s work in the community.

Membership is $40 per year.

For more information about B!KE, visit the website.

Photo courtesy of B!KE.

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