Bike marking
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Bike Fest @ The Stoke a brilliant success

Following our blog about the Best Fest event held at the Willow Brook Centre earlier this month, we asked Josh Harding to write a blog on how the day went…

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After three months preparation the day of the bike event finally arrived, bringing with it overnight freezing temperatures.

The decision was quickly made to move the event inside the Willow Brook Centre to avoid everyone involved feeling the force of nature. With much anticipation the volunteers, from the different organisations who agreed to attend, began to arrive and set up.

By 10.50am everything was ready but the nerves were setting in. However, at 11am I looked up and saw a stream of people, with bikes, heading towards us. I was so relieved and thought then, this event is going to be a success!

I jumped on the static bike to start the static cycle challenge for Life Cycle UK and chatted to people around me. PCSO Alicia Harvey and members of Patchway Police Cadets started the mammoth task of security marking the bikes.

Cycling Josh
Josh Harding on his static bike during bike Fest @ The Stokes

Community Champion Dawn, from Tesco, started handing out smoothies, whilst encouraging people, old and young, to have a go on the Smoothie Bike.

Wanting to be sure that no one missed the event, due to the relocation, Andy from Bradley Stoke Radio began making announcements and people just kept coming, it was fab!

Andrea and Stuart, from South Glos Bikeability Team, were busy receiving donated bikes and making small adjustments to any bike that needed them whilst Keith from Sportspound chatted to people and handed out Sportspound vouchers.

Before I knew it two hours had passed and my legs were beginning to ache. Mum, other family members and friends took over for a short period to give me a break.

I jumped back on the bike, after helping to hand out smoothies, as I wanted to raise as much money as I could for our chosen charity Life Cycle UK. Time flew by and people kept coming!

It was wonderful to see so many families, all with bikes, coming along to reduce the chance of having their bike stolen. People were even approaching my mum and offering to donate a bike or even buy me a new one, to thank me for organising the event. I was really touched by their offers but mum politely declined.

As the event came to an end at 3pm the Police cadets had security marked over 250 bikes, 15 bikes had been donated to South Glos Bike Recycling Scheme and we had raised £110 for Life Cycle UK.

I never imagined so much support and community spirit was possible. I was devastated when my bike was stolen but this event gave me something positive to focus on. I met some amazing people and I am very proud of what was achieved.

However, without the support of the following the event would never have been possible so special thanks to:

  • Willow Brook Centre Staff
  • PCSO Alicia Harvey and members of Patchway Police Cadets
  • Andy Ward and Co from Bradley Stoke Radio
  • Tesco for donating the Smoothie ingredients
  • Tesco Community Champion Dawn
  • Stuart and Andrea from South Glos Bikeability Team
  • Keith from Sportspound
  • Anytime Fitness for the loan of the static bike
  • Bradley Stoke Journal, Bradley Stoke Matters and BBC Radio Bristol for publicising the event
  • Bradley Stoke Community for turning up and embracing the event on a bitterly cold day.

And finally thanks to my mum for all her help and support (sorry about the sleepless nights!) You showed me how to turn a negative situation around and helped restore my faith in people. The only downfall to the event was that I walked like John Wayne the next day after being on the static cycle so long but it was so worth it!

Thanks again to you all!

Josh Harding

Organiser of Bike Fest @ The Stokes

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