Midlothian Matters - Sky-high plans for cycle charity

RUTS UPower is looking to get Midlothian folk back on their bikes.
RUTS UPower is looking to get Midlothian folk back on their bikes.

You never forget how to ride a bicycle – that’s a phrase most will have grown up with, writes Peter Jackson from the Rural and Urban Training Scheme.

It is a simple principle but, for many, life can get in the way of cycling and develops a fear of taking it up again when we are no longer childlike.

The UPower team at RUTS is seeking to turn those tables and support Midlothian to get back on its bike.

The Rural and Urban Training Scheme is a youth charity that has for years endeavoured to transform the lives of young people across much of central and east Scotland, equipping young people with the confidence and skills required to achieve their highest potential and raise their aspirations. Through programmes of motorcycle mechanics, bicycle mechanics, employability skills and, most recently, Climate Challenge Fund, we make a positive difference to young people and their communities.

The UPower project was initially set up after a young people-led idea to increase the number of people cycling in Midlothian. Now in the second phase of funding, we are looking to the Midlothian communities to replace a car journey with a form of active travel (walking or cycling) and replace the equivalent distance to the moon – 363,000 km.

‘I don’t have a bike!’ ‘I haven’t ridden on the road in years, it’s a scary thought!’ ‘I don’t know the best routes to get around!’ ‘My bike is always broken!’ No worries, we have a free service for each of these concerns. We run community hubs in Dalkeith, Mayfield, and Penicuik offering these services and bike check-ups on the spot. We will be running a week-long bike check service in Penicuik as part of Mobility Week, with different bikes available to trial including electric assisted bikes.

We would love those who are up for a challenge to join our Strava group and record their replaced journeys or share them with us through email. If you wish to get involved email upower@ruts.org.uk or call the team office on 07940 042 802.