A trio of bikes – two BMX bikes and one cyclo trials bike – are now available for young people to use, free of charge, in Castletown.
Kids can pick up the bikes at the Station Garage, sign their name in a book, ride to their hearts’ content at the nearby Poulsom Park BMX pump track and return them to the garage later in the day.
This loan scheme is the culmination of a lot of hard work by those involved in the initiative, which was dreamt up by Constable Jimmy Cubbon.
Last October, he said: ‘My thinking was, there are kids using the bike park in Poulsom Park who cannot afford a BMX bike. We have a lot of BMXs in store at police headquarters. The BMX track is a free facility that kids can use, from scooters costing £20 to a new BMX bike costing up to hundreds of pounds, they are not cheap. The bikes at police HQ have been found, people have not claimed them. You would like to think if someone lost a bike, they would go to the police and someone will check if it’s there, we have dozens of bikes on the police property system.’
South division’s Constable Robin Arnold, a bicycle enthusiast and a qualified bike mechanic, brought the bikes up to scratch and Castletown Commissioners also agreed to finance the cost of maintenance up to £500.
S&S Motors Cycle shop in Castletown provided necessary parts for the bikes at a reduced rate and Port Erin’s Traders shop has also helped out.
Jimmy said they struggled to figure out how to manage the programme, but Michael Owen from the Station Garage (near Poulsom Park) came to the rescue. ‘He is prepared to do a good community deed. He will retain the bikes and youngsters will be able to call in at the garage, collect the bikes and then return them later that day.
‘Michael is very much a two wheeled enthusiast, being heavily involved in the IoM Youth Motorbike Trials Club and is currently trying to push and promote the sport of cyclo trials on the island.’
A cycling track, created by the local authority and volunteers, already existed in Poulsom Park but in 2012, Jimmy – a keen cyclist – decided to drive an initiative to upgrade the facilities to give young people more facilities.
The track was created through voluntary effort and is very well used and cyclists travel there from across the island.
Jimmy’s hard work on the project gained him a nomination for the Isle of Man Newspapers’ Community Police Officer of the Year this year.
Castletown Commissioners’ chairman Kevin Weir said: ‘I would like to congratulate Jimmy Cubbon and Rob Arnold for their work on these bikes. Also Mike [Owen], plus the board of Castletown Commissioners for supplying the funds to do this. They have done a remarkable job, there are three good bikes available with little cost through their own personal effort. This is a good project. They are reclaiming bikes that would otherwise be thrown away.’
To ensure a bike is available, contact Michael in advance, call 473486.