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STUDENT VOICES: Brighton’s Bike Culture: “On ya bike!”

It is clear to see that Brighton leads the way for a better tomorrow: countless cycle and bus lanes, not to mention the less-visible improvements including the Biosphere Project. Now a scheme in its 2nd year at the University of Brighton Students’ Union is hoping to encourage even more students to be aware of their impact on the environment.

The Brighton Bicycle Co-Operative is a student led initiative involving anyone has a passion for the environment or cycling in general.  Bruno De Oliviera, Community Organiser for Brighton SU is the main contact, moving the group from strength to strength. ‘The Brighton Bicycle Co-op is a student-led initiative where you can bring your bike to get it fixed, get new good-value-for-money parts, learn and teach bicycle maintenance, rent or buy a bike or just socialise.’  43% of the UK population have access to a bicycle according to the National Travel Survey, meaning that many people who don’t have the storage or money for a bike can find one here.

Many students don’t feel the need for a bike at university, but it gives a new found independence and confidence to explore new areas. ‘My bike lets me explore the woods and hidden shortcuts of Brighton. I see much more than the normal student’ says Elsa, 1st Year Sociology student. Bruno adds, ‘Cycling can take you to all corners of Brighton quickly and cheaply, and it helps to make the city a greener place. Plus, cycling can help improve your health, happiness and it is a great thing to do socially too.’

The UK government has seen increasing pressure to create rapid changes to stop climate change and the Bike Co-op seems a step in the right direction.  It aims to make bikes and bike maintenance more affordable and accessible for students as well as reducing traffic and improving the air quality in Brighton.  Bruno says, ‘In five years time I would like to see that the Co-op has developed in to a thriving organisation – with more students and staff working together to transform the university and city into a more sustainable place. That is totally possible.’

The idea for the Bike Co-op came from a collective of students and will only continue with your help!  Brighton Bicycle Co-op runs on Wednesday between 2pm and 4pm at Steam House on the Moulsecoomb campus.  It costs £5 to be a member for a year and access all the facilities available. Get involved by contacting Bruno De Oliveira on b.deoliveira@brighton.ac.uk.  For more information join the Brighton Bicycle Co-op Facebook page.

By Robert Bone.

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