Yellow Guernsey Award Launched
Following ‘Wear a Guernsey Day’, the Health Improvement Commission has launched a new campaign called ‘the Yellow Guernsey Award’. Based on the UK campaign from Cycling UK, where yellow jumpers are given to people making cycling a priority in their lives and being an active travel role model in their communities.
Active Travel Officer, Alex Costen, has awarded the first of these to Allister Carey and the second to his grandson, Max.
Allister has changed the lives of hundreds through cycling. He set up the Eleanor Foundation 10 years ago envisaging the sending of about 400 bikes out to Africa. Nearly 4,000 bikes later and the charity continues to collect and prepare old bikes to send to Africa, helping individuals and communities have vital access to transport.
Closer to home, Allister, his wife, children and grandchildren are also often seen around the lanes of St Martin’s travelling by bike. Allister just has a small van for work and collecting bikes from various donors.
"Having a more active lifestyle definitely helps with our health,’ he said. ‘It’s also very liberating not being confined in a box and the fresh air is good for the mind. We move a lot through cycling and hardly ever get ill.
Cycling most places takes about 15 minutes maximum and I never have to worry about parking, plus I like being able to park right outside the door.
There aren’t many things you can’t do on your bike. It rains sometimes, but if you have the right gear, it really doesn’t matter."
Allister has been involved with the Guernsey Bicycle Group for about 16 years and he thinks the island is seeing a tipping point in terms of the number of people cycling. He also advocates finding alternative routes for cycling, which often run parallel to the main roads.
"You see a lot more bikes now. When our children were young we used to ferry them around in a trailer, or on a child seat on a bike, which wasn’t as common. Now, and with the growth of e bikes, there are so many families out on the roads cycling.
I think one positive affect of the lockdown was in terms of quieter roads and allowing children to gain confidence. And if they learn young and enjoy cycling, they are more likely to carry on."
Allister’s grandson Max, 14, learnt to ride his bike earlier this year. His auntie Ellie, Allister’s daughter, lost her life in a bicycle crash in London 10 years ago and as a consequence, Max had not wanted to cycle. This summer he tried his brother’s bike in the garden, and since then he hasn’t looked back.
"Having the ability to cycle is a big boost. I have 3 or 4 friends at school and we meet together and cycle to school. It means we can chat on the way there and I enjoy it. I also meet up with friends in our spare time and it gives us the chance to socialise anywhere we can cycle to on the island."