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Green drive on Inverness bike parts

By Neil MacPhail

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Dr Keith Slater.
Dr Keith Slater.

A former GP who turned to mending bikes instead of people after his retirement has found the upsurge in cycling during lockdown turning his part-time hobby into a full-time occupation.

As a spin-off of his general interest in cycling Dr Keith Slater has also now become involved in the push to help prevent bike tyres and inner tubes being sent to landfill dumps instead of being recycled.

Dr Slater (60), who worked at Raigmore Hospital for 15 years before latterly being in general practice on the Isle of Tiree, has set up Black Dog Bikes at his home at Feabuie off the A96 Nairn road, near Inverness.

He said: “With car tyres you pay a levy to have them recycled but, surprisingly, there was nothing similar for bike tyres and tubes. It was fairly recently decided that there should be a government scheme to recycle tyres and inner tubes and a company called Velorim has been appointed to lead this.

Dr Keith Slater with tyres for recycling.
Dr Keith Slater with tyres for recycling.

“They estimate 44,000 tons of these go into landfill annually.

“I’m very keen to make all aspects of cycling more sustainable and I have therefore registered as a centre for tyre and tube collection for the Highlands – and am very keen to get all the local bike businesses and public in general on board. There is another similar collection centre in Skye.

Dr Slater, who has worked with bikes all his life and was a volunteer with charity New Start Highland until lockdown started last year, added: “I am trying to get the word out because there are many cyclists who, like me, thought the only option available was the bin or tip.”

Black Dog Bikes logo.
Black Dog Bikes logo.

Already several bike repair shops across the Highlands have come on board.

As well as Velocity and New Start Highland in Inverness other participants include Square Wheels in Strathpeffer, Bothy Bikes in Aviemore and bikespokes of Forres.

The idea is that cyclists pay 50p and 20p respectively to their repair shop when handing over their used inner tubes or tyres.

Black Dog Bikes will then store them for eventual collection and recycling by Velorim.

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