Still banging on about bikes… join us- PLEASE

Yesterday we did something amazing as a family for the first time.

We went on a bike ride.

ALL TOGETHER.

ALL ON BIKES.

ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!

AND…FURTHER MORE…WE WENT ON THE ACTUAL REAL LIFE ROADS. WOWZER!

I am made up- this is a big deal for us and, even bigger when I consider that today the girls and I did it again, without the aid of the most able and confident cyclist in our gang- Mr L.

Our girls are 7 and 8 and I am 40 this year so it’s not as if we are breaking any world records or anything but for us it is note worthy and, judging from the conversations I have had with lots of other parents, we aren’t alone! Not everyone is as confident as Will and Ed on two wheels; they are the exception rather than the norm- in this country at least.

This might not sound major to many people but, for me, the prospect of riding on a main road with my children would have been pretty much unthinkable until lockdown. The roads were too busy, too noisy, too dangerous, too damn scary for me to even consider it – despite being a director for a CIC whose principal focus is getting people out of cars and reducing our carbon footprints. I am happy to walk, happy to run, happy with public transport and, as a family we actively try to live active and environmentally conscious lives so, it is saying something if I lacked the confidence to regularly ride on the roads.

Infact; quieter roads have not been the only plus point of lockdown in my opinion. It has given us the opportunity to really explore some of the gorgeous green spaces we have on our doorstep- Caldy Hill and Arrowe Park, Heswall Shore, The Dales and Dungeons to name a few. Having lived on Wirral for much of my life I knew the usual suspects- West Kirby, The Wirral Way, The Marshes at Parkgate but so much more opened up to us as soon as the option of jumping in the car was off the agenda. During the past 12 weeks we have run, walked, cycled and scooted closer to home far more than we ever made time for previously and we are all the better for it.

Getting out alone and into some green space has been a real balm for me over these last few months. Watching the sunrise, hearing the birds, seeing the squirrels, it has all enabled me to retain or more accurately, regain, a sense of calm. Without it, I think I would have found this time much more challenging.

This enforced ‘lockdown’ or ‘slowdown’ has afforded us the opportunity to glimpse at how life could be with

  • The option to work from home regularly
  • Flexitime
  • More family time
  • More time in nature
  • Less traffic on our roads
  • A slower pace of life generally and an opportunity to really access what is important.

It is a life I believe we could all gain so much from and, as the lockdown continues to ease it is imperative that we don’t allow all of these gains to slip away. For so many of our European neighbours cycling is a way of life- far more common than the car for the school run, the commute or the shopping- could this be a part of our ‘new normal’?

Rethink Now are determined to be a part of the “What now” conversation- the discussion on what needs to happen to keep people cycling, keep people walking and make sure that people don’t automatically revert to the car whilst public transport services are squeezed due to social distancing measures.

To do this, we really need your help;

A tool has gone online to enable you to highlight locations that need to be improved for pedestrians and cyclists across Wirral during the COVID-19 crisis and potentially longer term if the changes are well received.

If there is an area that you feel needs to be changed or improved say, due to excessive pavement parking, too many cars near your kids school or feeling roads are unsafe for cycling PLEASE do take the time to comment- you can highlight as many locations as you want and provide as much detail as necessary to help the council decide what changes will be made where. The more people that comment the more evidence there is to say that as a peninsula we want access to safe, green modes of transport. We want an alternative to the car that feels safe and convenient. We want to enjoy our local area on two wheels or on foot- whatever our age or ability.

The site is really quick and easy to use – click the orange ‘Have your say’ button, scroll/zoom to the part of the map you want to comment on, drop a pin and fill out the quick form before submitting.

https://wirralliveablestreets.commonplace.is

There is also one for Chester if that is applicable for you, and Liverpool too!

And- if furlough is giving you more time than you know what to do with; you could also email your local councillors regarding any safety concerns and the importance of walking/cycling- what difference it has made to your area in lockdown and why you feel it is necessary. Councillors just aren’t hearing enough from people about this stuff and unless it feels like a priority to them other things will take precedence.  – quite often they are hearing a lot by way of complaints about not enough parking, lack of access for cars, complaints about pesky cyclists on the pavement, etc. We need to turn the tide on this in a massive way as we face down the COVID crisis that will merge into our environmental crisis. Find your councillors here and let them know that this stuff is important.

https://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx

Covid has been a truly horrific time for so many – it is important that we do all we can to capture any grains of goodness and help them grow. We believe this is possible; do you?

Join us on our mission:

  • Cleaner, greener places
  • Connected communities
  • Happier People
  • Healthier Planet

Please use the links above to share this post across your social and encourage as many people as possible to share their views – positive or constructive on the site. You can also tell any friends and family that aren’t on SM too- it is important to reach as many people as possible. The deadline is 31st August but, now is good!

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