May 05, 2023
Interviews & Opinions

How Central Bedfordshire Council Used Bike Repair Stations To Promote Active Travel

By Jonathan Oldaker

At the beginning of the year, we were working with Central Bedfordshire Council to finalise the installation of twenty bike repair station units.

The finished project formed a crucial part of the council’s strategy to get more people engaged with active travel.

Bike repair stations can be used to help support more cycling journeys by providing essential roadside support for punctures, loose bolts, and all manner of bicycle problems which can stop you pedalling.

For councils like Central Bedfordshire, rolling out bike repair station units in public locations can work toward LCWIPs (local cycling and walking infrastructure plans), helping to promote and facilitate cycling.

We spoke to Tom Price, Senior Sustainable Transport Officer at Central Bedfordshire Council to find out more about their roll out of the bike repair stations.

Promoting Active Travel Journeys

It can be challenging for councils – particularly outside of major cities like London, Birmingham, and Manchester – to get more people out of cars and onto their bikes.

Tom explains how engagement formed the first step to understanding how to increase cycling and walking:

“The Council has an adopted Sustainability Plan which is our roadmap to net zero by 2030 and improvements to active travel are a key component of this. Our recent engagement with communities during the development of our Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) highlighted that residents want safe, convenient routes for making local journeys through active travel modes.”

Unlike urban environments, where journey times are shorter and cars fewer, the majority of UK councils are more remote.

“The rural nature of Central Bedfordshire means there is a higher reliance on the car and so it is really important we try to improve opportunities for active travel and sustainable transport,” says Tom. “It is a challenging task but one we are working through!”

bike repair stations for council

The Repair Stations are complete with custom branding and free RAL colour choice

Why opt for Bike Repair Stations?

Central Bedfordshire’s Sustainable & Active Travel team dedicate themselves to improving wider cycle networks and routes. But while these critical infrastructure upgrades carry a lot of positive impact, they also take a lot longer to implement.

“We felt it was important to make improvements that have an impact in the short term, such as the introduction of the bike repair stations, bike hangars, and improved cycle parking,” Tom says. “These smaller projects complement our emerging LCWIPs.”

How to choose the best location for the units

So, where to put the bike repair stations? Private workplaces, residential storage shelters, and cycle hubs are all common ground for repair units and pumps. But taking the stations out into rural cycle lanes and public areas such as libraries can really start to harness their effectiveness.

“An initial scoping exercise pulled together a long list of sites which included facilities that may benefit from the addition of a bike repair station, such as our leisure centres and countryside sites, as well as more central locations in our towns and larger villages,” Tom explains.

“We then assessed each site, completed site visits, and considered multiple factors such as: the proximity to promoted cycle routes, potential heritage impact, land ownership, visibility, security, proximity to existing cycle parking, space at the location to provide improved cycle parking, and expected usage,” Tom says.

Following that, it was a case of liaising with landowners and stakeholders, getting permit applications in, and then onwards with the rollout.

Use the stations to fix punctures and make essential roadside repairs

The installation process and contending with the British winter…

Our repair stations simply require bolting into a concrete surface. Contending with the logistics of delivery and finding the sites to streamline the installation was key.

“On the whole, the installation process went smoothly, albeit the British weather tried to its best to upset things! Thanks go to Tito at Turvec for his patience as getting some of the work outlined above did take a while, particularly with other pressures and projects at work,” Tom recalls.

Tom was always on hand to help with important details for the installation teams, and took time to meet with contractors on site to manage the delivery.

So, have the repair stations been well received?

“Yes, there have been some positive comments from users, passers-by and our Town & Parish Councils,” Tom says. “I have also received a couple of emails asking for more information on the product and the project, including one from an organisation who hired a meeting space at one of our countryside sites and saw the repair stations and thought they were a great idea.”

The Bike repair station is a really flexible and useful product for all manner of applications. Wherever we’ve seen them installed they are well-used, and can help provide reassurance to cyclists that should they need to find a pump or an allen key quickly, they’re able to.

Would Tom recommend the stations to other councils?

“Yes, very much so!”

For more information about the Bike Repair Station & Pump, follow the links to our product page here.

Turvec are accredited by

Turvec Solutions is accredited with a number of industry certifications in relation to Health and Safety, competence and security. We are registered on all major procurement websites.