A NATIONAL drive to get people on their bikes returns next week, with cycle campaigners urging residents to leave their car keys at home and commute on two wheels instead.

Cycle to Work Day 2014 on Thursday, September 4 aims to get the nation pedalling like never before, after an extra 20,000 people taking to their bikes during last year’s campaign.

And with nearly half of cyclists admitting to being unable to make even the simplest of bicycle repairs and adjustments, lobby group Cyclesheme is urging people to take up advice and limited free bike health checks available next week.

Andy Brodrick, Retail and Events Coordinator for Cyclescheme said: “Regular bicycle maintenance is important. Not only does it ensure your bike is safe to ride; it often prolongs the life of the bicycle components through simple preventative maintenance.

“Don't worry if 'the world of spanners' is unfamiliar territory, your local bike shop can carry this work out for you, and provide advice on the simple things you can and should do yourself regularly.”

Cyclescheme’s ultimate goal is to get over a million people commuting to work by bike by the next national census in 2021. The current figure sits at 760,000 as of 2011.

Supported by British Cycling, transport charity Sustrans, Bicycle Association, Business in the Community and championed by Dame Sarah Storey, Cycle to Work Day aims to highlight the benefits of cycling as a means of transport and encourage more people to cycle, more often.

Great Missenden-based bike shop Cyclefleet is among the businesses offering free check-ups and advice on and around Cycle to Work Day.

Cyclefleet’s Andrew Jackson said: “A well maintained bike is safer, gives a much improved ride experience and consequently gives increased impetus to cycle more often. If this ultimately leads to fewer journeys by car or public transport, then that is also good for the environment too.”

For more information on free bike health checks, and how to get involved with Cycle to Work Day, please visit www.cycletoworkday.org