Rosa and Gemma discover pedal power
Like many key workers, Rosa Alexander and Gemma Kerr faced some tough choices when the coronavirus lockdown was imposed.
The flatmates, who live in south Edinburgh, still had to travel across the city to work each day, but the city’s public transport system was operating a reduced service and the idea of catching a crowded bus seemed ill-advised.
Rosa, 26, a support worker at two Edinburgh hotels that have opened their doors to homeless people during the coronavirus, said, “Transport was proving a real issue. I was having to get taxis a lot to get to work and to travel between the two hotels.”
Cab fares have been kicked to the curb, however, since Rosa and Gemma became the proud owners of two second-hand bicycles provided by the National Lottery-funded charity Crops in Pots.
Prior to the lockdown, the Leith-based organisation operated a cafe and market garden. But since March, it has been using its workshop to repair and service donated bikes which it passes on to key workers.
Rosa said, “They’re really nice bikes. I don’t know a lot about bikes but they ride well and they look great.”
Rosa and 25-year-old Gemma, a support worker for a disabled adult, have fallen in love with their two-wheeled steeds. After struggling at first on some of Edinburgh’s steeper hills, they soon found their fitness improved and they began riding for pleasure in their spare time.
Rosa said, “Gemma went on a big ride the other day and I’ve started running because I’m fitter from cycling. The bikes have made me a lot less fearful about riding. Edinburgh is a great place to cycle.”
Tom Watson, a paid sessional worker at Crops in Pots, has been servicing and repairing bikes since the start of the lockdown. The 52-year-old said, “[The bike repair project] has proved incredibly successful. I’ve got a waiting list for bikes and a waiting list for services. All I’ve been doing for the past few months is repair bikes.”
But Tom couldn’t be happier that he’s playing his part in helping people during the pandemic. He said, “I’m privileged to be a part of this. I’ve been massively impressed by the speed with which Crops in Pots has adapted to helping out in completely new circumstances.”
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13th July 2020
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