A bike hub has opened in the disused fruit and veg market in Circus Street, Brighton.
The hub offers to help people fix, maintain and get their bikes back on the road for free.
It has been set up by the Brighton charity Groundwork South and volunteers have already collected more than 35 abandoned bicycles from Brighton Station this week.
They will be refurbished and brought back into use.
The hub is also gearing up for Love Your Bike Week which started today – on Valentine’s Day – and will run through the half-term holiday week.
As part of Love Your Bike Week, Groundwork volunteers will be on hand from 11am to 3pm from Tuesday (18 February) until Friday (21 February) to help local people with their bikes.
Anyone can drop in to get free help to fix their bike or learn how to maintain it.
Anyone who has an old unused bike can also drop it off there and it will be recycled.
The bike hub will also be hosting group rides, setting off from Circus Street and heading along the seafront cycle paths to Shoreham and Saltdean.
Love Your Bike Week will culminate in The Spin, a free event on Saturday 22 February from noon to 4pm.
It will include stunt riders, award-winning performance artists, bike workshops, Dr Bike, the chance to tackle a bike assault course and more in the old market in Circus Street.
For more details, visit www.circusstreetbrighton.com.
The space has been made available by the developer Cathedral Group which wants to put two landmark buildings on the site.
Cathedral in partnership with McLaren Property submitted a planning application to Brighton and Hove City Council in December.
They estimate that the scheme will create 600 jobs and bring more than £200 million into the Brighton and Hove economy over the next ten years.
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, opened the Circus Street Bike Hub and said: “This is such a brilliant project and part of what makes Brighton and Hove such a great place.”
She praised the growing cycling infrastructure and the contribution that it made to making Brighton and Hove the least car-dependent city in the country outside London.
She said: “I’m trying to push the government to come forward with cycle-friendly policies.
“There aren’t many win-wins in politics but this is a win-win-win-win.”
Dr Lucas said that it was using a space that otherwise wouldn’t be used, repairing bikes that would otherwise be scrapped, giving people a healthy alternative to cars and helping social inclusion.
And she quoted HG Wells saying: “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”
Duncan Blinkhorn, community projects co-ordinator at Groundwork South, said that it was vital to cut carbon emissions.
He said that he’d been involved with the Lewes Road bus and cycle lane scheme.
He added: “There’s a very real opportunity to increase the level of cycling along the Lewes Road between Falmer and the seafront.
“We’re trying to support anyone who gets on a bike or who wants to get on a bike.”
Mr Blinkhorn paid tribute to Cranks, in Chapel Street, off St James’s Street in Brighton, and other similar schemes and organisations.
He said that cycling was cheap, sustainable and healthy and urged people to come along to the Spin on Saturday 22 February.
He added: “If you know someone who git a bike but it’s not in use, bring it down here.”
Cathedral marketing director Penny Humphrey said: “We hope that Love Your Bike Week will become an annual fixture in Brighton.
“It’s great to be part of its beginning.
“We also want to encourage as many people as possible to come along to our amazing free public event called The Spin celebrating all things bike next Saturday (22 February). I just hope it doesn’t rain.
“All of this is about something which is very important to our development proposals at Circus Street.
“We are planning some state of the art cycle-friendly initiatives as part of our scheme, giving all residents a bike along with secure cycle storage right outside their doors.
“We are also looking into more unique initiatives including the potential to support a bike share programme on the transport corridor between the city and the university campuses at Moulsecoomb and Falmer which could have a profound impact on sustainable transport across Brighton and Hove.
“We are committed to pedal power.”
Cathedral is also working with Brighton University and the council on plans for the Preston Barracks site in Lewes Road.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.