The Brighton Bike Train is expanding its services to include group bike rides to big events, including football matches at the new Amex Stadium in Falmer.
The plans follow a meeting that took place last Tuesday, 22 November. The Brighton Bike Train is a group of cyclists that provides a safe, healthy and eco-friendly way to commute along the Lewes Road in a group.
Their moto is “creating a fun, visible and more protected [cycling] environment within a mass-ride.” The train runs along the Lewes Road, from Sainsbury’s to the Sussex campus at 8:45am, every weekday. The return journey starts at the university at 17:45.
Distinguishing the train from other cyclists is loud music, sounding from bikes at the front and back, which keeps the group together and makes the journey more enjoyable for those involved.
The Bike Train recently included journeys to Brighton’s White Night and the Lewes Bonfire celebrations in its schedule.
Following on from these advances, the train will no longer be limited to the university commute in 2012, and will start to cover more routes, areas and events.
One such route will include stops between the Level and the Amex Stadium, and will begin in February.
Bike Train organiser Duncan Blinkhorn said: “It will help fans get home more quickly by avoiding the crush for buses.
“It will also help Bike Train reach a different and wider audience… the rides will provide an opportunity for a pre-match celebration, flying Seagulls flags and making a noise as rides arrive at the stadium.”
Similar plans are in progress to support attendees of events later in the year, including the Fat Boy Slim concerts on 1 and 2 June.
The Bike Train also plans to support transport for events more specifically tailored to cyclists, including Green Week in March, Cycle Festival in April, Bike Week in June, and car-free week in September.
As well as providing safe and healthy transport to university students, the Bike Train has recently expanded to include rides to schools.
Blinkhorn said: “Weekly rides to Dorothy Stringer, Varndean and Patcham High Schools are small but continuing with a committed core of young people, parents and teachers. In 2012 we will focus on promoting these to next September’s intake of Year Seven students.”
Primary schools will also benefit from the train’s expansion.On 5 November, they organised a successful 30-strong ride to Stanmer Park with pupils, parents and staff from St Martins’ Primary School, and they will be working with Ben Sherrett, or ‘Bike-It Ben’, who is working on behalf of the City Council, to promote cycling in primary schools along the Lewes Road corridor.
The Bike Trains’ plans do not stop within the boundaries of Brighton. “We are liaising with the BACA (Brighton Aldridge Community Academy) school in Falmer with a view to starting rides there in February 2012 following a test ride in late January. These would require an 8am departure from The Level supported by some staff and or students volunteers from Brighton & Sussex Universities,” said Blinkhorn.
Travelling even further afield, the train is planning a group bicycle ride to France in the summer months, which may include a fundraising element.
For all information regarding routes, timetables and events, please visit http://biketrain.org/