A community cycling project brought miles of smiles to youngsters on Christmas Day.

Streetbikes, which recycles secondhand bikes, handed over 170 cycles to poor families.

The group provided presents for many children who would otherwise have gone without.

Based in Milnsbridge, the project has given away 6,000 bikes in the last six years.

But this Christmas has been extra special and founder and project co-ordinator Gill Greaves said: “It’s been our busiest Christmas so far.”

Streetbikes of Milnsbridge getting ready to hand out hundreds of bikes over the Christmas period. Richard Beaumont, left, Gill Greaves, Malcolm Dew, Sandy Watson and Steve Watson.
Streetbikes of Milnsbridge getting ready to hand out hundreds of bikes over the Christmas period. Richard Beaumont, left, Gill Greaves, Malcolm Dew, Sandy Watson and Steve Watson.

The group, a community interest company, revamps unwanted bikes and passes them on to needy families with the aim of encouraging better health and exercise.

Most families are referred by the authorities but some just turn up on the doorstep.

This week a couple from Cleckheaton walked the 10 miles to Milnsbridge to beg for bikes for their son and daughter, aged six and eight.

Volunteers were so touched they arranged delivery and gave the couple a lift home in their van.

“It makes it all worthwhile when you can help families who are really struggling,” said Gill.

“I have delivered bikes to houses with no furniture nor nothing. You wouldn’t believe these sorts of places exist in Kirklees today.”

Bikes this week went to Almondbury, Brockholes, Slaithwaite, Marsden, Huddersfield, Cleckheaton and Batley.

The project has a team of 35 volunteers to get the bikes turned round.

Gill Greaves of Streetbikes, Milnsbridge with one of the many books to be signed by professional cyclist Mark Cavendish.

Unwanted bikes are donated but a big source are the council recycling centres where tip staff look out for bikes and put them on one side. Two virtually brand new bikes came from a tip in Huddersfield this week.

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Youngsters who receive a bike can trade them in for another when they outgrow them.

This month the Examiner told how Tour de France legends Mark Cavendish and Brian Robinson are backing their new book Streetbikes Community Cycling: How We Change Lives.

Copies have been sent to London to be signed by Cavendish and another has been signed by Robinson, Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, and Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France.

All the signed copies will be auctioned online early in the New Year.

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