Paul, 5, campaigns for clear cycle paths
A five-year-old boy from Oakham has made a heartfelt appeal to the people of Rutland to help keep the cycle paths tidy so that he can ride his new bike safely.
Paul Hitchcox who recently got his first ‘grown up’ bike without stabilisers for his fifth birthday in November, has written to the Times to appeal for the cycle paths to be cleared of hedge cuttings after his grandad got a puncture in his bicycle tyre.
Paul, a pupil at Catmose Primary School, and his grandfather Peter regularly cycle from Greetham to Cottesmore and sometimes go as far as Burley-on-the-Hill.
But just before Christmas Peter got a puncture in his tyre whilst riding through Cottesmore because of thorns that had been left on the pavement and the pair had to push the bike back for a mile to get home.
Peter said: “We’re really pleased to have the cycle paths but they need to be maintained. I’m not blaming anybody, but the debris is not being swept up and this is causing bike punctures.
“If the cycle paths were maintained, there would be no excuse then for cyclists not to use the cycle paths and they wouldn’t have to cycle on the busy main roads.”
Paul and his grandad, who lives in Greetham, hope that people will help to keep the cycle paths clear for the safety of cyclists.
Peter said: “I enjoy cycling and I’m hoping to do it more in the new year with Paul now that he has a proper bike. It’s good for us to get out and have some fun together.
“I really want him to enjoy cycling, but I want him to do it safely. If something positive can come out of this then that would be really good.”
In Paul’s letter, he said: “I had a bike for my fifth birthday - it has big tyres. Grandad likes cycling with me.
“Two weeks’ ago the hedges were cut and grandad’s bike had a puncture and he had to push the bike home, which was a long way. We saw lots of cyclists cycling on the main road but they didn’t have punctures.
“Please can the people who cut the hedges make sure that the thorns and mud are cleaned up because grandad had a really big puncture and couldn’t mend it.
“If the paths are clean then granddad can use the path with me again and not get a puncture. Then more cyclists would use the cycle path.”