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Saturday, September 24, 2022

New Active Travel Centre providing affordable bikes in Derry

The centre will be the new home to Life Cycles, an initiative which fixes and repairs bikes which would have gone to landfill and sells them at an affordable price. They will also help people to fix their own bikes, with equipment funded by Translink, and provide bike safety sessions and workshops. Alongside the big bike sale on the open day, there will be e-bike rides, stalls, talks, skating, face painting, buskers and a unicyclist from In Your Space Circus.

Cat Brogan, Active Travel Officer with Sustrans, said: “So many of us have bikes that are broken or out-grown while others can’t afford to buy new. In June 2021, Monica Downey decided to take on this problem and Life Cycles was born. Building on over a decade of inspiring people in the city to cycle, through her training company Cycling Made Easy, Monica teamed up with Zero Waste North West, started fixing bikes and getting them back into the community.

“In a cost of living crisis, it is no surprise that our survey shows people buy our bikes because of the price. One respondent said ‘I hope the scheme gets lots of support as, if it wasn’t going, I wouldn’t have been able to afford a bike. It’s also important to trust who has worked on it for my own health and safety and safety of others around me’.”

Jim Keyes, Monica Downey, Yoyo Muhamed and Cat Brogan with their award for Green Champion, which they won at the Derry Journal People of the Year Awards 2022.

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Derry woman revitalises cycling by giving life to old bikes

“In just over a year, almost 300 bikes have been sold and over 3.6 tonnes diverted from the waste stream. It’s also been an opportunity to support Ukrainians around Dungloe, Donegal, who find themselves 40 minutes walk from the nearest shop. We’ve also recently worked with refugees from Kuwait, Yemen, Syria and beyond. They’ve given us their time and skills to refurbish more bikes in exchange for a bike of their own. Zero Waste North West founder Jim Keyes has provided space in his shed and the play trail have donated a container, to allow more space for storage and working on bikes.

“The Active Travel Centre at the Train Station is a new chapter in the Life Cycles journey. The workshop is open every Thursday from 6 – 8pm. With direct access to the Greenway, the bike workshop is the ideal space for people to try out the bikes and see if they work for them. Local bike shop, The Bike General has been a key part in the Life Cycle’s journey, providing their shop for training and making sure that the bikes are safe to go out.”

As well as the Life Cycles sale at the Open Day on 1st October, bicycles are available on Thursdays 6 – 8pm at the Train Station; Zero Waste North West Hub, 84 Spencer Road on Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and kids bikes are available at Thrift, Northside Shopping Centre. Email [email protected] for more information.

Sustrans Active Travel Officer Cat Brogan and Life Cycles’ Monica Downey seeing customers off on their new-to-them bikes.
Sustrans Active Travel Centre willl hold an Open Day on Saturday, October 1 at their centre in the Waterside Train Station.
Some of the refurbished bikes for sale in the new Active Travel Centre in the Waterside Train Station.
Bikes that were saved from landfill in Pennyburn Recycling Centre and will be given a new life with Life Cycles.
Life Cycles in the Zero Waste Hub on Spencer Road.
Monica Downey fixing a bike.

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