Falkirk bike club’s pedal power

Dawson Bike Club members and supporters at their new and bigger premises in Bankside. Picture: Alan Murray
Dawson Bike Club members and supporters at their new and bigger premises in Bankside. Picture: Alan Murray

A cycling group that started with a single bike and now has over 300 has moved to bigger premises to help cope with its success.

Three years ago a throwaway comment from a young unemployed man at a job club in the Dawson Centre in Bainsford, saying he wanted to learn how to maintain bicycles to give him employability skills, inspired the birth of Dawson Bike Club.

The centre’s management committee set the wheels in motion and work began to develop a club that teaches youngsters and adults bike maintenance, empowers a disadvantaged community and helps bring families together and get healthier on organised rides.

The club’s ideals were heartily embraced and it soon grew quickly as people started donating unwanted cycles for the bike mechanics and trainees to work on. Trainees learn their trade repairing or fixing up donated bikes which are then sold on to keep the club self-sustaining.

The group has also evolved into doing ‘Bike Doctor’ workshops at local schools and even hires out bikes – a facility that will be rolled out at Helix Park during the summer.

Volunteer Mark Cameron, who has been involved from the start, said the group has come a long way from its beginnings in metal containers at the Dawson Centre to a full unit in Castle Place in Bankside Industrial Estate.

He said: “When we first started we had one bike – we’ve now got hundreds.

“Having the club has inspired so many people to get back on their bikes again to get fit, do a family activity or just enjoy cycling around Falkirk.

“We’ve helped quite a few people, young and old, get experience of bike maintenance which has increased their chances of new employment and it’s fair to say that it’s been a complete success and one that will undoubtedly continue.”

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, who has supported the project, said: “Over the last couple of years I have had the pleasure of watching this project achieve success and demonstrate what started off as a bike recycling project turn in to an excellent example of a community-led service run by volunteers with the added value of creating training and job opportunities.”