A COMMUNITY bike project wants to be at the forefront of a cycling revolution as people are urged to switch to two wheels after lockdown.

Broken Spoke, based at St Thomas School in Osney Lane, recently got up and running again after shutting for four months.

The workshop has returned as the government invites bids from local authorities to improve infrastructure for walking, cycling and public transport, with Oxfordshire County Council asking for millions of pounds.

Despite the pandemic-enforced break, Broken Spoke has repaired more than 500 bikes this year, while its two instructors are back teaching cycle training every day of the week.

Read also: three top tips on how to prevent your bike from being stolen

Community coordinator Ines Rahtz hopes more and more people use the project as they explore the benefits of cycling.

She said: “We’re breaking down the barrier to active travel.

“It’s a massive opportunity for us. We’re perfectly placed to help develop the boom in cycling across the city."

Cycle infrastructure in urban areas is a key part of the county council's second bid for the Department for Transport's emergency active travel fund.

Oxford Mail:

The council wants £2.38m after receiving £298,500 of an expected £597,000 in the first tranche earlier this summer.

Since then, several city streets have been temporarily pedestrianised and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have been proposed for Cowley, Jericho and Headington.

Read also: Jericho Low Traffic Neighbourhood plan moves forward

Although Oxford is called the cycling city, Ms Rahtz believes the city's major routes must be made safer to give residents the confidence to get on their bikes.

She said: “I think there’s a huge amount of work to be done.

“Despite calling itself a cycling city, Oxford isn’t really built for bikes or cars.

“Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and bus gates have had a lot of pushback, but it would make cycling in Oxford so much easier.

“What we really need to see is protected, segregated cycle lanes on the main arterial routes.

“It would make cycling more of a natural option for people living on the outskirts.”

Oxford Mail:

Broken Spoke has become a key part of the city's cycling community since it was co-founded by Cassiope Sydoriak and Ellie Smith eight years ago.

The pair wanted to increase female involvement in bike shops, which are generally male-dominated.

Ms Rahtz, from Rose Hill, said: “It’s a huge part of our identity.

“We think we're the only bike shop in Oxford with female bike mechanics.”

The project has previously worked with refugees and the homeless, while 2,300 bikes were repaired in its DIY open workshops and 250 people benefitted from cycle training in 2019 alone.

Broken Spoke ran popular online courses during lockdown and hopes to fully reopen its workshop next month.

It is currently open for repairs on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9am to 5pm, and accepts £50 government cycle repair vouchers.