A few days I posted a video about the wisdom of the Dutch in planning & building their cycle network. Now it’s the turn of my fellow Yorkshire folk to bask in the glory I am about to heap upon them. As I type I am sitting on a train from Leeds to London having spent a couple of days with my family. I arrived quite early at the station in central Leeds so I went for a wander outside. I wasn’t expecting to find that the hanging gardens of Babylon had been planted in front of the station so it was no disappointment to find that they hadn’t. What I did find however, brought me an equal amount of surprise and joy. So much so that I took a picture. Here it is;
Initially I thought it was a conveniently-located bike shop so I wandered in to browse. There was something not quite right about the place however. It was certainly an Evans bike shop but they appeared to have started selling second-hand bikes. How strange. I wandered around the circular-shaped building and slowly realised that these bikes weren’t for sale, they were being stored there. This was a garage for bikes with a small Evans shop at its centre and a chap working in an equally petite workshop just to one side. How brilliant. I got chatting to the mechanic. Leeds Cycle Point was, it transpires, set up by one of the railway companies – Abellio, who are (no surprises here), a Dutch train operator! – and operated by Evans. It offers secure parking for up to 300 bikes, repair, rental, retail and information about cycling in Leeds. To store your bike there for a day costs £1 but you can buy monthly or annual subscriptions (£15 and £120 respectively). Those with subscriptions are given a swipe card allowing them to access the building from 6am to midnight. The Cycle Point is staffed from 7am until 7pm for casual users. The start-up cost was £700,000. How utterly wonderful.
Now, a question especially for those of you who are reading this in my corner of England; Berkshire. Can you think of any local towns whose railway station is currently going through a £500 million rebuilding project where the country’s second Cycle Point would be perfectly located? Have a think about it while you look at some more pictures from Leeds;