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Cycle group back on the road after having all its bikes stolen

Walsall | News | Published:

A cycling club that fell victim to thieves and had all 11 of its bikes stolen is now back up and running after being inundated with generous donations from the community.

Walsall Arboretum Community Cycling Club now boasts 24 bikes – more than double than the original number.

The club’s bikes were stolen back in November, after thieves broke into the compound where they were kept at the arboretum.

Pictured in the Arboretum l is 85 year old Joan Reynolds with, from left to right, Jeeti Sidhu, Janet Fallon and Surinder Thind.

Volunteer coach Steve Price said the response from locals following the theft was ‘fantastic’.

The 54-year-old gardener said: “I picked up a bike from Malvern recently that had been donated, and one in Coventry. It’s been fantastic. Obviously the bikes being stolen was a bit of a blow but there was a silver lining.

“We’ve been donated bikes of all shapes and sizes. Some were brand new, only been used a couple of times, and some were in quite poor shape. Over Christmas I had 10 bikes in my conservatory to repair.

“The council actually paid for me to go on a mechanics course so I’m now a fully-qualified mechanic too.”

Tina Eglington, 48, who used the sessions to boost her confidence on two wheels, said she wanted to cry when she heard about the thefts.

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Walsall Arboretum Community Cycling Club members, with coach Steve Price, centre, are back on their bikes

Many of the group’s members are pensioners and the club allows them to exercise and meet others. It had only been running for two months before the theft, but had to shut down for the entirety of December. Happily, they are now back and raring to go.

Steve , who lives in Dallas Green in Walsall with partner Penny, said: “We want more people to come along and ride their bikes with us now. We’re thinking of creating a few new groups around the area for people who want to do mountain biking, or those who just want to potter around the park. Lots of people don’t like riding on the road so the arboretum is fantastic for that. Everyone is encouraged these days to stay fit and healthy and cycling is such a great way to do that. It adds years to your life.”

The group, which provides free lessons for adults, was started as part of the Big Bike Revival – a scheme and series of events across England and Scotland encouraging people to make every day journeys on their bikes. The Walsall members had received a £3,000 grant from Sport England to get it up and running.

The free club currently runs every Tuesday morning at the arboretum, starting with a beginners session at 10.15am aimed at those who cannot ride a bike, followed by a ride around the park at 11.15am. Bikes and helmets are provided or anyone attending can bring their own. Call 01922 650465 to book or for more information.

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