Aire Valley Bike Bus

Aire Valley Bike Bus logoI bumped into the Aire Valley Bike Bus this morning. Not literally, of course, but I caught up with them near Lister Park in Bradford and cycled a short distance with them to have a chat.

They’re a friendly bunch, led by the smiling, enthusiastic ‘David Domestique’ (all the work, none of the glory) who is a great advocate for getting more people out of their cars and onto bikes, eager of course, to have more joining the bus. And what a great idea it is.

The bike bus concept

The idea is very simple and stems from many people’s worry about cycling on today’s busy, car and lorry-filled roads. Like Matt, who I chatted to at work today. “I haven’t ridden a bike since I was about 15 years old,” he said, “and I’m very nervous about cycling on the roads, and on the pavement to be honest.”

Well, using the old maxim about safety in numbers, the bike bus is a group of people who cycle a set route at a set time, picking up more cyclists at agreed collection points, and times, along that route. Simple.

The idea came over here from Australia and there are now several bike buses, and routes, in the area, as well as across the UK.

The Aire Valley Bike Bus route

In the case of the Aire Valley Bus, the group sets off from Keighley Railway Station at 7.20am each Wednesday, come rain or shine. They travel at a reasonable pace down the old Bradford Road, going through Crossflatts, Bingley and Saltaire to Centenary Square in the centre of Bradford.

There are 13 stops and they guarantee that if you are at the stop on time, they will pick you up. They may be a little late, only a few minutes, but they will never leave a stop early. So, as you get nearer your destination, the group gets bigger and bigger. Safety in numbers. And you can drop out at any point, of course.

Fitness & bike requirements

None. Really. Other than having a bike. The pace is steady so even if you haven’t ridden for a while, you’ll be able to keep up. For those who are a little fitter, the conversation to helps pass the time. You’ll find people from all walks of life, and of all ages, on the bus.

So go on, give it a try. The weather is fine(ish) and the route is flat(ish), your fellow riders are great company, and it’s as safe as cycling is ever going to be. There can be no excuses now, can there?

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