Ride On Cycling receives 6000th bike

Dec 13, 2023

Exeter-based charity ‘Ride On Cycling for All’, is delighted to be gifted a Voodoo Mountain bike making it the 6000th bike donated since the charity was formed.

Located on Exeter Quay, ‘Ride On’ was established in 2011 by bike ability instructor, Martyn Laxton.

Working at a school in Teignmouth at the time he was concerned that many of the pupils either didn’t have bikes, or they were of very poor quality. Martyn persuaded some friends to donate bikes and to help do them up and it proved so successful that he felt it would be a great idea for a social enterprise. Starting the charity in his garden shed, he quickly moved into a lock-up provided by Teignmouth Town Council, and in 2014 the charity relocated to its current workshop at Haven Banks.

The kind benefactor of the 6000th bike was David Greensmith, former Commercial Manager of Exeter City Council who sadly suffered a stroke in October 2022 and retired through ill health. A keen motorcyclist David was the founder of the World’s first global motorbike ride in memory of those lost through the Pandemic raising thousands for COVAX in 2021.

David explains: “I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 17 and following my stroke was devastated when I had to give up my beloved motorbike which was a limited-edition Café Racer. My mountain bike has been sitting unused in a neighbour’s garage for the last year because I no longer have the strength in my left arm to ride it safely so I thought it was time to donate it to someone who would benefit, and I was delighted to hand it over to Will Page who heads up this wonderful local charity.”

Will Page explains: “Volunteers range from younger people to those who are retired and want to offer their skills to give back to the community. They are crucial because if we were looking to refurbish all the bikes ourselves, we couldn’t afford the labour costs – so they are a major part of our success. We also work with young people on a programme called ‘Schools in Exeter’, supported by Exeter City Council through their Live & Move project. My background is teaching so I am passionate about education and a firm believer that people work in different ways. We have a cargo bike and mobile workshop helping young people who are struggling in main-school education to spend time with our mechanics who help and guide them on fixing their bikes and it’s such a joy to see their eyes light up.”

Many bikes around Exeter are found abandoned and these get sent to the Charity’s workshop where they have a band of c.30 volunteers and four professional mechanics. All the bikes get fully serviced and the charity then sells them on with a full warranty and new cables. The ones that can’t be saved are stripped back for parts and sometimes a bike may be made up of up to four different bicycles. Once a week the charity runs a scheme called ‘Bring your own bike’, where people come into the workshop and can use all the tools and have access to the mechanics and their extensive knowledge and expertise whilst working in a safe environment.

Will Page explains: “Volunteers range from younger people to those who are retired and want to offer their skills to give back to the community. They are crucial for us because if we were looking to refurbish all the bikes ourselves, we couldn’t afford the labour costs – so they are a major part of our success. My background is teaching and passionate about education and a firm believer that people work in different ways, so we also work with young people on a programme called ‘Schools in Exeter’, supported by Exeter

City Council through their Live & Move project. We have a cargo bike and mobile workshop helping young people who are struggling in main school education to spend time with our mechanics who help and guide them on fixing their own bikes and it’s such a joy to see their eyes light up.”

He concludes: “People understand that we care as a charity and that the newly renovated bikes mean they are affordable to a wider audience. People buy bikes as their main way of transport to get around the city, particularly college and university students, as well as people riding to work. This means we are helping to reduce the number of car journeys being made around Exeter and our vision is for a cleaner, healthier, and active, Exeter.”

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