New bike dock scheme is launched in Sunderland on riverside route

From left, Tracey Enguita from Go Smarter, Sunderland Cllr Julia Jackson, University of Sunderland Project Manager, Michael Foster, Jackie Nixon from Sunderland Council Public Health, Diane Hilder from Go Smarter, Ritchie Duggan from SCAG and Sunderland Coun Barry Curran at Sunderland City Council's new Bike Dock.
From left, Tracey Enguita from Go Smarter, Sunderland Cllr Julia Jackson, University of Sunderland Project Manager, Michael Foster, Jackie Nixon from Sunderland Council Public Health, Diane Hilder from Go Smarter, Ritchie Duggan from SCAG and Sunderland Coun Barry Curran at Sunderland City Council's new Bike Dock.

More Wearsiders will be able to get on their bikes after a new cycle dock was installed on Sunderland's riverside riding route.

Promoted by Sunderland City Council's ‘Go Smarter’ scheme in partnership with Public Health, the bike dock is being run by Sunderland Community Action Group (SCAG) from a site next to the National Glass Centre at St Peter’s.

From left Kevin Darke and his mother Dorothy who is blind with Ritchie Duggan Jnr at St Peters riverside cycling route, providing bikes for affordable hire and loans.

From left Kevin Darke and his mother Dorothy who is blind with Ritchie Duggan Jnr at St Peters riverside cycling route, providing bikes for affordable hire and loans.

The dock sees cycles available for affordable hire and loans - with prices at £1 per child and £2 per adult per hour.

The new and updated St Peter's Cycle and Sport Hub also provides a focal point for other leisure, recreational and physical activities for all ages and abilities.

Activities are being arranged on weekly themed days with opening hours from 9am to noon, seven days a week.

The dock is on the Sunderland stretch of the national Coast to Coast (C2C) cycling route from Cumbria through to Roker, and is providing:

• Walking clubs for ‘Mums, Prams and Grans’
• ‘Houndog’ days for dog walkers
• Treads and Tyres free maintenance
• The nearby University Multi-Use Sports Area provide alternative activities throughout the year
• ‘Happy Friday’ fishing
• Cycle hire on Saturdays
• Lead cycle and walking events

Sunderland Community Action Group Project Manager, Richard Duggan said: "We understand that high costs can sometimes be a barrier to people getting involved in leisure and sport, so we’ve reduced our hire prices for the bikes and activities so all the local community can take part.

"This is a great opportunity for everyone to get fit and active without breaking the bank, and we offer a range of activities that are suitable for all age groups and abilities.

"We are based along the riverside next to National Glass Centre taking advantage of the fantastic river views and surrounding cycling path tails.

"We are also actively seeking volunteers who will have the opportunity to work alongside fully trained members of staff to gain experience and build self-confidence."

As well as standard multi-use hybrid bikes for hire, tandem bikes and child trailers are also available.

Councillor Barry Curran, who represents St Peter's ward in the city, said: "We hope this new community cycling facility will encourage even more people to get on a bike, to exercise and to enjoy the many cycling routes we have across our city.

"Buying or hiring a bike can be expensive, so we hope this new community service will make them more affordable and available for people who’d like to hire or loan one.

"Volunteers and staff will also be on hand to offer help and advice to anyone taking to the road on two wheels for perhaps the first time in a long time, and also provide a little routine maintenance for people’s own bikes."

Ward colleague, Councillor Julia Jackson added: "Sunderland has long been committed to sustainable transport.

"We're already part of the Government’s national ‘Go Smarter’ campaign to promote alternative ways of travelling to the car to help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

"Over the six years of the national campaign we achieved a lot in Sunderland, working with 80 of the major employers, providing their staff with the encouragement and support needed to consider car sharing, walking, cycling and getting public transport to work.

"That partnership approach is continuing with this new hub."