‘A bike means freedom and a chance to get to football practice and college.’
Anna and Luke at Drover Cycles are well aware of how important bikes can be to people and having travelled extensively by bike themselves are happy to help people seeking sanctuary to own a bike. At the end of 2017 they hosted a day out for a group from Cardiff to repair bikes and this was swiftly followed by a trip from Newport in April 2018 for the same purpose. This visit sowed some seeds in the brain of Mark ,one of the coordinators at the Gap Sanctuary in Newport. He brought some prospective bike mechanics up again in November 2018 and since then gradually developed a Bike maintenance programme. Now they operate out of an old shop unit in Newport centre with a SpokeSafe area on the ground floor and a bike workshop in the basement. This allows people to cycle into the city and keep their bikes safe and for old bikes to be given a new lease of life. Currently over 65 people are registered to use the Spokesafe facilities and about 200 refurbished bikes a year are given away .
So when we heard that the men at the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford needed bikes we thought it was worthwhile seeing if we could have another bike maintenance day. Anna and Luke readily agreed to host and offered free use of their workshop and their experts. Any parts were given at cost price. In addition they were able to secure lights, helmets and locks from suppliers.
So on the coldest day of the year so far [ i’ve not checked but it felt like it was] 15 men from Hereford came with Morgan on the service bus and had a day out in Hay. Some were able to visit the castle and market and others watched bikes being mended with some joining in. The hotel had provided packed lunches which were supplemented with a hot vegetable soup , fruit, cake and lots of coffee and tea. The cold started to affect some of the Africans , especially those without coats, so some left by an early bus. Those who stayed were able to test drive the bikes and interact with Tom and Carys, Luke and Anna’s children. Tom is learning his colours by looking at bike pictures!
Lawrence had walked with the men to catch the bus in Cusop where the Herefordshire bus fare of £2 was supposed to apply. The bus computer couldn’t accept that Cusop was in England until the driver managed to enter some special codes. The late returners went by car to a bus stop further into Herefordshire and the Welsh driver decided upon a ‘group fare’ and a warm welcome..
We are indebted to Volunteers Miv, Carl, Stuart and Mike and to Andy, Aaron,Jamie and others at Drovers for working so hard on so many bikes and for giving their time and expertise . Thanks to Chris, Lawrence and Ian for encouragement and support. And to Anna, Luke, Carys and Tomas for making this day possible.. Luke has offered to deliver the bikes next week when finished …
Anna said ‘It was a pleasure and we are just glad to be able to help, in some small way. It was a real joy to see the interactions with Carys and Tom in particular. Little children have such a gift for bringing smiles and laughter, not to mention chaos!’
A cold day certainly but warm hearts undoubtedly
On Thursday 16th November 2023 13 bikes were delivered to Hereford by Luke. Helmets, lights and locks were sourced by Luke and paid for by HBTSR so that the bikes should be safe to ride and kept safe. .