Go to the library... and borrow a bike

“On your bike” is the message from Yorkshire Bank. No, it’s not the bank’s way of refusing loans or mortgages but a bid to help get more people pedaling.

Community groups, charities and not-for-profit businesses from across the region are being invited to make applications for funding to set up a Yorkshire Bank Bike Library.

Successful applicants will receive funding to support them to set up a library which will see them become a point for people to borrow bikes for free. Any donated bikes that need repairing will be made safe and ready to ride.

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So would-be Chris Froomes need not worry about the wheels coming off just as you’re about to tackle the moors.

Bikes can then be borrowed for anywhere between one day to several months (you could do your own Le Tour in that time). The joint project with Welcome to Yorkshire’s Cycle to Yorkshire initiative will run for three years.

The brainchild of the scheme is ‘Mr Yorkshire’ himself, Gary Verity.

The Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive said: “This is a great opportunity to give community organisations and those passionate about cycling a helping hand to make a difference, and in turn expand this ground-breaking project to give young people access to a bike.”

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The first wave of donation points will be in York, Askrigg, Bradford, Sheffield, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Pontefract and Keighley.

Going flat out

You’ve heard of speed-dating. Now, it seems, we are witnessing the emergence of a new phenomenon which reflects our changing times – speed flat-mating.

According to Alix Newton, the director of Lets Live Leeds, it’s a process which stops people from wasting valuable time seeking the perfect flat-mate.

She told Diary: “Our flat-mating service combines the perfect blend of property and people. We interview our tenants, and do a tour of houses which provide suitable matches. We act as a relocation agent for people moving home to start a new job in Leeds.

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“Our typical clients are new to Leeds and need to establish a new social network. House share provides the perfect platform for this.”

On the back of the worst recession in history, rental affordability is still a problem for many people.

Family breakdowns, rocketing house prices and the crushing legacy of the recession are forcing many people over the age of 40 to return to flat- sharing with strangers. Ms Newton said: “We have houses that are occupied entirely by divorcees, they have curry nights, and it becomes a new lease of life for some after a traumatic break-up.”

Apparently, some of these flat-mates are forging romantic ties.

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“It’s not all heartbreak hotel, we have had relationships blossom too,’’ Ms Newton said.

Love can be taxing

With just days until Valentine’s Day, love is in the air and the high streets are awash with red hearts and treats for your beloved.

If all this romance is a bit much, Baker Tilly has the antidote: think about the tax implications of marriage.

According to the accountancy firm, some couples could save a whopping £212 a year by getting hitched when new tax rules come into play.

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From April 6, couples where one spouse does not earn enough to use their full personal tax allowance can transfer up to £1,060 of additional allowance to their spouse.

Couples where one person earns above the higher-rate tax threshold – £42,385 for 2015/16 – do not qualify. As a result, some lower-earning couples could miss out and end up with lower income than couples who do qualify, Baker Tilly warned.

As attractive as the idea of £212 is, Tim Parr, tax partner at Baker Tilly in Leeds, admitted tax probably isn’t “top of mind” for people popping the question this weekend – but added it could be a “welcome bonus” for some.

Good to hear romance is not dead just yet.