2015 in Bristol looks set to be different from other years. As we welcome in the New Year, Bristol is about to be launched as Green Capital of Europe. This means that we will have a chance to show other European countries all the great stuff that is going on in Bristol to encourage and support sustainable lifestyles, but more importantly it will give organisations like Life Cycle a platform to promote their activities - and for Life Cycle that means we can support even more people in Bristol to start and continue cycling.
For the most part it will be “business as usual” and we will continue to provide all of the services that have enabled so many people to take up cycling in the past, including cycle training; refurbishing bikes and organising bike rides. This year, with support from Bristol Green Capital, we will also be introducing a new programme of nature themed bike rides to our inclusive cycling programme, designed to enable people who have physical or mental health issues; are lonely, isolated or excluded, to discover Bristol’s many green spaces and hidden wildlife by bike. With the help of a number of expert guides, we’re planning some great rides around the city, along wildlife corridors, beside rivers, through parks, and open spaces. Each ride will have a theme including early morning birdsong, foraging, bush craft, bat safaris and more.
Matt Harcourt of the Avon Wildlife Trust who will be involved in some of the rides said: “There is overwhelming evidence that direct contact with the natural environment can offer a greatly enhanced quality of life. This project will provide the opportunity for people to interact with the natural world improving their quality of life and well-being and increase their understanding of the natural world and the relevance and value of our natural heritage’s wildlife.”
The idea behind the rides is to offer more than just a bike ride! We want to give people a chance to discover Bristol’s wild places, or to view places they already know in a new light by helping them to find out about the wildlife and plants that live there.
The reasons for wanting to organise this programme are many. Life Cycle has never been just about cycling – we’ve always wanted to look at the broader social and environmental reasons for getting on a bike and using bikes to discover nature seemed like a great way to get people thinking about conservation of the city’s green spaces and the species that live there. If people know about and value the wildlife pockets across Bristol, they are much more likely to help sustain and protect them.
Moreover, our rides are more than just visits to places – they are intrinsically healthy and sociable and offer a great opportunity for anyone to get exercise, breathe fresh air, and meet new people…. What could be more enjoyable than a ride with friends surrounded by nature? If you’re not sure, come along for the ride and try it yourself.