Run-down bikes turned into green machines

Team Green Britain Bike Week starts today and aims to get 10,000 bicycles back on the road. By Daniel Barrenger
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The Independent Online

Thousands of bicycles across London will be given a new lease of life this week as part of a big new ecological campaign backed by Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton. Team Green Britain Bike Week, launched today at the London Eye, aims to get the capital back on the bikes that have been consigned to the garden shed.

“There are many people with a forlorn bike in a shed, and during bike week we want to fix them and get them on the road,” said Pendleton.

The scheme is part of a unique plan to bring together eco projects across the country in time for the 2012 games, and aims to get 10,000 bicycles back on the road.

It will be launched by Spike Taylor, former Team GB chief mechanic, and Ed Clancy, the Olympic pursuit team gold medal-winning cyclist, along with MPs from various parties at the annual All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group bike ride. The ride will start at the EDF Energy London Eye and takes the riders on short trip around Westminster before finishing at the House of Lords.

Organisers say that the majority of abandoned bikes are simple to fix. “We know that 77 per cent of people in the UK own a bike, but only 14 per cent use them regularly and an major barrier to people getting back on two wheels is often something as simple to fix as a dodgy brake or puncture,” said Phillip Darnton, Chairman of the Bicycle Association.

“We want anyone with a bike, who wants to get it roadworthy, to help make Team Green Britain Bike Week become ‘Britain’s biggest bike fix’. We are urging new and lapsed cyclists to check to find out details of their nearest event.”

Gareth Wynn, Group Director, 2012 Programme at EDF, said: “As the first sustainability partner of London 2012, EDF Energy founded Team Green Britain to help Britons reduce their carbon footprints ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Travelling contributes significantly to most people’s carbon footprint, but cycling is a low-carbon way to get around – plus it can be enjoyable and help you get fit at the same time.

“We’re hoping that Team Green Britain Bike Week will help people get back on their bikes, helping them reduce the carbon footprint of their travel in the long term”.

Team Green Britain brings together everyone from bicycle recycling schemes to sustainable food movements and has already attracted more than a million people, it was announced today.

The scheme, which has also signed up hundreds of schools across London, was founded by EDF Energy in 2009, and is supported by London 2012 and the Eden Project, It aims to promote community projects and to reduce Great Britain’s carbon footprint by the time the Olympic and Paralympic Games arrive in London in 2012.

The legacy: How students are helping to change lives

London’s Legacy Champions

A three-year programme to change the lives of students living near the Olympic Park in east London, the Legacy Champion’s Project is the cornerstone of the “inspired by 2012” scheme of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Locog). It will involve students in hundreds of community projects design to change local areas and improve students’ lives.

“The Legacy Champions are encouraging the participating colleges to fulfil their potential,” said Lord Coe, Locog’s chair. “We want to use the power of the Games to inspire change.”

EDF Energy, which is giving 90 of its staff time off to participate in projects, and the youth action charity Envision have targeted ten local colleges as part of the deal, which will see students paired up with mentors to work on projects in the Olympic boroughs.

Maxine Adesina, from Hackney Community College, who is taking part in the project, said: “I am very excited about being a Legacy Champion and to have the opportunity of having an input into something that leaves a permanent legacy. This project will offer a great chance for diverse, talented people to come together with ideas that can positively affect our community and overall environment.”

The Pod – turning Britain’s schools green

The Pod is EDF Energy’s Programme for Greener Schools, with more than 12,450 signed up, including hundreds in the capital. Launched in 2009, its aim was to engage 2.5 million young people in sustainability by 2012, a target that has already been reached.

The interactive programme is designed to show pupils, teachers and parents how they can make real and practical changes to their energy and water use in school, at home and within the community, and includes a website where participants can exchange ideas.

Schools who sign up are awarded medals and certificates for each activity they complete, and pupils can compete against each other in online quizzes, and by auditing and changing their lifestyles to make them more eco friendly. Currently top of the table is Coleshill CE Infant School in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, whose pupils recently enjoyed a visit to the Olympic Park as a prize (see pics).

The scheme is also working with schools to make their buildings more eco friendly. For more information, and to take part, visit