Thursday, 11 August 2011

Handsworth Bike Club – can you help?

Since the early 1980s Handsworth Bike Club has been an important part of the lives of hundreds of children growing up in the area. Fixing bikes, teaching maintenance skills, and giving kids a safe, friendly place to hang out and learn to ride for the first time. The club is a valuable part of the local community.

Sadly, a lack of volunteers is currently threatening the Bike Club’s future; there is a desperate need for individuals to come down and help out, without which the club with be forced to close. In order to help prevent this Birmingham Bike Foundry is currently seeking people interested in giving some of their time to the project.

The club has its own playground area and lockup, with tools, bikes and parts, which it operates from. Helping out will involve relatively basic repairs, passing on mechanics knowledge, helping kids to start cycling, and generally just hanging out and having fun! Opening is currently irregular but is usually on Saturdays or Sundays. The project is fully insured.

If you are interested in volunteering all you will need initially is an interest in both working with kids and cycling. Some level of maintenance skills would be beneficial, but we will be able to help you get up to scratch with your mechanics if you’re not there already.

Once we have expressions of interest we will take all potential volunteers for a Saturday at the club. After that we hope to determine who will be willing and able to offer some time volunteering (we’re not suggesting every weekend!).

If you think you might be able to help please email us using, letting us know a bit about yourself, e.g. relevant experience, maintenance abilities, other useful skills. And please, spread the word!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Summer of cycling – what we’ve been up to

Here at Femme Pédale we’ve been enjoying the summer and taking part in all manner of rides and events …

Vélorution Universelle

In July a group of us from the UK took a trip to Paris to visit FP writer Una and take part in an absolutely amazing cycling event. Vélorution are a collective of cyclists campaigning for the use of the bicycle and on the numerous economic and political issues this opens the door to. This summer they brought together thousands of riders to reclaim the streets of Paris.

On our first day the biggest mass ended with an evening of fun and music in front of the Eiffel Tower. The next, we headed north to go swimming in the Seine and then bask on its banks. We saw some amazing bikes, met some wonderful people, and managed to survive cycling on the right hand side of the road.

Try and spot us in the video!

Dunwich Dynamo

The originally large contingent of us taking part in the Dunwich Dynamo was tragically cut short by the tyrannies of illness, work, and medical degrees, so a few weekends ago it was myself and the two Bike Foundry boys who left London at 8.30pm for a long night.

The Dynamo is around 120 miles from London to the coast, overnight. Not gonna lie, there were some less than fun moments. The multiple punctures, missing the half way stop point because we failed to see it, circa 110 miles thinking I’d lost everyone and sitting at the bottom of a hill eating chocolate because there was no way I was getting up it otherwise.

In spite of all this, definitely an incredible experience. Riding in the dark

for so long with nothing but hundreds of bike lights, the moon, bats, and the odd town, completely abandoned. Extremely surreal. The relief when the sun started to rise was intense, just to be able to see properly again seemed amazing! We finally reached the beach at 5.30am after nine hours of riding, flying the flag for step-through town bikes and fixies in a sea of lycra and roadies.

I have to say a big thanks to the boys for, y’know, just being cycling comrades, and to Southwark Cyclists, the group responsible for the Dynamo taking place.

In other news, we have been getting ready for the forthcoming Birmingham Bike Foundry shop (more on this very soon!), taking part in very sweaty Nottingham to Birmingham rides, building new bikes (soexcitedsoexcitedsoexcited), Critical Mass-ing…it’s business as usual in Birmingham.