A survey conducted among teenagers on the main reasons for their not using bicycles on a regular basis showed that maintenance problems were one of the major motives, as well as a cause of accidents. Free check-ups and maintenance workshops were designed and organised to counteract this trend.
Background & Objectives
A survey conducted among students in in secondary schools and their families, showed that the poor state of bicycles and their substandard maintenance were two major drawbacks to cycling- as well as a cause of accidents.
Two activities were proposed to prevent these situations from hindering the development of a cycling culture as an everyday means of transport in Navarra:
- Free checking of bicycles: this activity was intended to prevent newcomers to cycling from using bicycles which had been out of use (and out of service) for a long time and thus to avoid accidents, and
- Maintenance workshops: this activity was intended to teach participants how to identify problems and to make routine maintenance and repair operations on their bicycles and thus reduce the number of visits to the repair shop.
Free check-ups and maintenance workshops began within the framework of a programme promoting non-motorised access to the secondary school in Cintruénigo (2008 and 2009). They were subsequently made available to other localities and schools to extend the positive results. Free check-ups and maintenance workshops were organised in Navarra within the framework of the IEE’s ADDED VALUE European project, under which the environmental agency CRANA advised and collaborated with different regional and local administrations.
The workshops were integrated into sustainable mobility campaigns or programmes addressed at final users, mostly teenagers and adults. Free check-ups were offered in the two largest cities of Navarra and took place all morning at a central and representative location in town in the open air. In Pamplona this activity was carried out within European Mobility Week 2010 activities and in Tudela within the Bicycle Day. Maintenance workshops were held with teenagers during class hours at their secondary schools and with the general public within the framework of cycling promotional campaigns, such as in Pamplona or Noain. They lasted for approximately 2 hours and were held indoors in a spacious venue.
The costs of the act depend largely on the success of the call (one monitor for every 25 bicycles or trainees) as well as on the materials required. This effort depends in turn on the communication efforts made.
Over 60 people got a free check-up of their bicycles, and over 200 were trained on routine maintenance, diagnosis and repair operations on their bicycles. Most participants were grateful and satisfied. Those benefiting from the free check-ups were mostly regular users, so this activity did not necessarily change their habits; however, participants in the training activity did actually state that after the training they felt more confident and likely to use their bicycle on a regular basis.
Oraintxe, (bicycle courier company recognised socially and experienced) provided the technical assistance required for the activities, namely expert monitors. The activity remains available for local governments and bodies willing to offer such training to citizens, employees, etc.