Could you help Sole Cycling keep Weston-super-Mare's children safe?

PUBLISHED: 19:00 28 October 2016

Marc Malloy and children at Yatton Junior School.

Marc Malloy and children at Yatton Junior School.

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The leaders of a North Somerset community project say they want to raise tens of thousands of pounds to help keep the area's budding cyclists safe on the district's roads.

The Sole Cycling project offers Bikeability training across the district to children in year six, delivering a course which helps youngsters learn how to cycle safely and share the roads with cars, buses and pedestrians.

However, children are only eligible to take part in a Bikeability course if their bike meets a certain level of safety, which includes having working brakes fitted and well-inflated tyres.

Sole Cycling’s leaders say they want to raise £16,000 to pay for each eligible child in North Somerset to have a bike check, worth £10, before they complete their Bikeability training.

The not-for-profit organisation is now appealing to the area’s businesses for donations to help it achieve its aim.

Sole Cycling’s founder Marc Malloy told the Mercury: “I want to find a company which is willing to put their money in for the greater community good and say they are willing to pay for these children to have a safe, working bike.”

Bikeability training was formerly known as the cycling proficiency test and it teaches children how to stay safe on busy roads. However, children are unable to take part if their bikes are not up to scratch.

Marc says that can mean Sole Cycling coaches are sometimes forced to turn children away from the course.

Although the group offers children a £10 bike check before the Bikeability training begins, not all schools make this compulsory – and this can have a damaging effect on a child’s safety.

Marc said: “The priority for us is to keep these young children safe. If they have not got a brake, for example, then we cannot take them out.

“All the children have to do is bring the bike in and we service it, but we get a really mixed response.

“Some schools say it is optional and about 50 per cent of kids do it, but then some kids do not do it at all. Thirty to 50 per cent of the bikes are not roadworthy so the kids borrow some from another group or, in the worst case scenario, we have to tell them they cannot come.

“I hate doing that – it’s heartbreaking.”

Marc, who set up Sole Cycling 10 years ago, said the group hopes to attract funding from businesses to pay for the checks, which Sole Cycling’s coaches will carry out.

He said: “What we would like is to find people across North Somerset who might say ‘I am a local business and this school is right next to me. There are 12 children there, so there is £120’.

“I want these children to become people who feel safe on a bike.”

If you are interested in donating to the project, visit the Sole Cycling website or email marc@solecycling.co.uk

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