It's boom time for bikes as virus changes our lifestyles

Dusty old bikes that haven't seen daylight for years are being pulled out of garden sheds and are back on the roads, as more people strive to put a little pedal power into their daily routines.

Honor Stead on the stretch of cycleway from Bardney to Woodhall Spa.

Try and buy a new cycle and you'll most likely struggle to find one in a local shop - and the same goes when searching on the internet.

So, it isn't surprising that many people are giving their old faithful's a new lease of life - especially if they were lucky enough to get £50 towards the cost in a recent government Bike Voucher Scheme before first batch was allocated and the webpage crashed.

However, with Lincolnshire County Council appealing for ideas on how to spend thousands of pounds of another government grant to widen pathways and create new cycleways, the time to take up cycling couldn't be better.

The Water Rail Way from Boston to Lincoln.

"We've had cycles covered in feathers and bird poop brought to us for a new lease of life, " said Amanda Sanderson, who with her husband, Paul, have recently opened a cycle shop in Horncastle.

Just One More Bike is situated in the former HSBC bank in the Market Place and, in spite of the shortage of cycles for sale, Paul has been kept busy during lockdown with custom built bikes.

Plans to incorporate a cafe and fine dining bistro in the shop with cycle racks for cyclists to take their bikes inside have been put on hold due to change of use of the premises issues..

"It's been really disappointing we've had to delay the opening of the cafe and bistro side of the business because everything stopped during lockdown, but we are hoping to get sorted by the end of August," said Amanda.

More and more cyclists are enjoying the Water Rail Way.

"We've just been lucky Paul has been kept busy with the custom built bikes.

"It's a new venture for us - Paul has retired from the RAF and I have left the MOD to do this so we have our fingers crossed." It's been really disappointing we've had to delay the opening of the cafe and bistro side because e

As roads become busier during the holidays, new cyclists have been enjoying cycle paths that are already available in the county.

One popular route starts at Boston and heads along the River Witham and a former railway track to Lincoln, incorporating a stretch from Bardney to Woodhall Spa.

Honor Stead and Jonathan Willis ready for a ride.

Water Rail Way is a scenic 33-mile footpath and cycleway named after the 'Water Rail' bird which lives along the River Witham. The full route includes 13 miles on country roads but there are 20-miles of off road paths for cyclists, walkers and horse riders.

Its a favourite route for two new riders from Skegness who got the cycling bug during lockdown. Honor Stead and Jonathan Willis were celebrating completing an 18-mile ride the night before and were getting ready to go out again when we caught up with them.

Jonathan said he used to cycle about 30 years ago but started again during lockdown as a way to lose weight and get fitter.

"I managed to buy a bike on Facebook and have been building it up," he said. "I tried to get a voucher but the website just crashed.

The opening of Just One More Bike in Horncastle with Kay Burge and Paul, Amanda and Courtney Sanderson.

"I'm really enjoying it and it's good to have a friend to go out with because it's safer when there's two of you."

Honor said she got the bug when her partner let her ride a spare bike that he had. "I have been doing some running on a treadmill but I had never really cycled.

"I had one go and then got hooked."

She was lucky to find a suitable cycle on Gumtree but had to go on a 170-mile round trip to fetch it."

"I'm really loving it - even though I already have scares from falling off.

"But I'm getting more confident all the time and loving exploring new places - especially when there is a cafe so we can stop and get something to eat.

The Boston Lock Cafe near Sluice Bridge is a popular stop for cyclists using the Boston to Lincoln cycleway which runs alongside the River Witham.

"It's more fun than distance and speed for me. And if the county gets more cycleways that will be amazing."

More and more riders are going out in 'friendship groups' while cycling clubs remain restricted in the activities they can offer.

Chris Close, treasurer of Sleaford Wheelers, said they had seen more enquiries about cycling but were unable to offer club rides at the moment.

"We've had an influx of hard core riders wanting to enter time trials - normally we have 20 but for our latest one we have 50 registered.

"Numbers have also increased of children taking part in out British Cycling Go-Rides.

"There is certainly a massive interest at the moment."

The Louth and Somercotes area has seen the return of a local women's cycling group with many rides planned for the coming weeks.

Breeze is the biggest ever programme to encourage women to ride bikes for fun. The aim is to help more women of any age and ability feel confident and comfortable about going out cycling, whilst having fun, meeting new people, and discovering new places to ride.

The network is run by hundreds of volunteers, or Breeze Champions, who are trained ride leaders and who lead structured, organised and FREE rides that are planned, pre-ridden and risk assessed to ensure they are safe for all participants.

Louth area Breeze Champions are Colette Cox, Tracey Wilkinson and Tracey Good, who are beginning to put on rides each week in the Louth or North Somercotes area.

Tracey Good,says: “I was so daunted when I went on my first ride about five years ago, worried that I didn’t have the right gear or I wouldn’t keep up, but the group were so friendly and the rides go at the pace of the slowest ride to make sure no one is left behind. I was hooked, I’ve met so many new people and had lots of adventures – and cake!”

HAVE YOUR SAY ON CYCLING AND WALKING IMPROVEMENTS

Lincolnshire County Council has revealed what changes will be made to streets to make cycling and walking easier, and is asking for input from residents on further plans.

The Department for Transport granted the council £105,500 from the first round of the emergency active travel fund to support the installation of temporary projects during the recovery from Covid-19.

For the second round of funding, due to take place later this year, the council would like residents to help shape the longer-term projects.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said:

"This second tranche of funding is worth over £800,000 for Lincolnshire, so there is more scope for ambitious projects on our roads.

"This is why we'd like residents to let us know where they'd like to see new cycle lanes, widened paths, or road closures.

"Your ideas will help us shape the future of our streets and ensure that any changes we make are the most appropriate and useful to the community. You can also give us feedback on the changes we're making with the first round of funding –whether the temporary measures should be made permanent, or whether you think changes would be better suited elsewhere."

You can submit your ideas for pavement widening, new cycleways or road closures online at www.widenmypath.com. The site allows you to pinpoint on a map where you'd like to see changes.

USEFUL CONTACTS

*To find a Breeze ride near you visit https://www.letsride.co.uk/breeze

Visit www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/lincolnshire for a list of cycling clubs

For cycle routes in Lincolnshire visit https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/coast-countryside/cycle-routes-lincolnshire/1

Start of the Boston to Lincoln cycleway.
The Boston to Lincoln cycleway is popular with walkers too.