We have just come back from running a Sustrans stall at Leicester Skyride. Great event! Say whatever you will about Sky as an organisation, but you have to take your hats off to Skyride for getting bums on bike seats - and young ones at that. It was particularly great to see so many families with young children cycling.
Our stall was in the Town Hall square which was manned by an enthusiastic band of volunteers (thanks to all of you) from both the Leicester and West Leicester groups. We were kept pretty busy most of the day, ranging from kids (lots of them) who wanted ballons (we ran out), stickers and badges to parents and other adults who wanted to know where to cycle - particularly traffic free as a family.
Our focus was on providing local information both about cycling locally and Sustrans as an organisation. We had some A1 display maps of Leicester and Leicestershire extracted from the Sustrans mapping (which were very useful) and a range of cycling leaflets and maps from Leicestershire Council. On the Sustrans front we had a range of leaflets and we plugged the "free your bike" leaflets getting some 22 completed and giving away at least twice as many again for people to take away and fill in. We "sold" a box of puncture repair kits for donations of a £1.
As always it was the local information which was of the most interest. The most common question being "where can we cycle traffic free with children?". Here the "Where to cycle in Leicestershire leaflet" proved popular (we ran out of these), the A1 display maps (and local knowledge) also helped answer this question. So many people (again) said "do you have a cycle map of Leicester?" - when oh when will the council ever finally get this published? If you are all as frustrated about this as I am why not email the council and tell them - maybe this email address will work firstname.lastname@example.org.
Map rant over, I personally very much enjoyed the day and everybodys company. I think we served a useful function and provided some useful local information to people that I am not aware was available anywhere else, and in doing so raised awareness of Sustrans.
Before we forget the day it is perhaps worth reflecting what we might do differently next time. Heres my "starter for 10" - why not use the blog comments or email me with your thoughts:
- bring some paperweights and or more leaflet display stands or choose a less windy day!!
- more ballons (and any other childrens freebies that might be available)
- probably a bit overstaffed in the afternoon - I think 3 people was about optimal, but it did give the chance for people to take off and look around.
- we could augment our A1 maps to show local leisure cycle routes (particularly off road) - it would also be useful to be able to display the available council maps / leaflets
- we all need a better way to explain Sustrans simply, concisely and consitently to people who have never heard of us - maybe we need a bit of a script
- we produced an A5 flyer for the West Leicestershire ranger group, but we have never got it printed up - we should look at doing this
...and thinking beyond the stall itself heres a couple of thoughts, I will probably take these thoughts along to the Sustrans rangers day in Birmingham on 25th Sep. Happy to take others along as well if you are not going to be there ...
- could the "free your bike" pack also include local council cycling leaflets?
- why aren't Sustrans more engaged with Skyride at a senior level - where else can Sustrans engage with so many potential cyclists?