In partnership with the Department of Transport, Bikeworks addressed loneliness and isolation by activating a fleet of Ride Side-by-Side cycles across London. With the team delivering over 3,400 conversations, read our newly launched evaluation to find out how this innovation changed lives.
George Rowlands, Project Manager
I am delighted to present on behalf of Bikeworks our impact evaluation report for the Ride Side-by-Side ‘cycle taxi’. The service was funded using the Department for Transport ‘Tackling Loneliness with Transport’ fund, enabling us to scale and deliver for a year across London.
Dr Kay Inckle’s report encapsulates the quantifiable benefits, sharing also the heartwarming stories of our passengers and Cycle Taxi Pilots, through the lenses of Social Connectedness, Mobility, Health and Wellbeing, Inclusivity and Accessibility.
Having joined the team originally as a Cycle Taxi Pilot, I know first-hand how incredibly fulfilling the role is. I remember on my first day providing transport for a community lunch club to older people with limited mobility to attend. I recall one of the elderly gentlemen telling me if I wasn’t there that day he would have gone hungry, this was because he didn’t have sufficient mobility, or any assistance to go out and get food for himself. You’ll see how the service became a real ‘lifeline’ to some of our most isolated Londoner’s – a key finding from Dr Inkle’s analysis.
Scaling the service with community partners across six London Boroughs got me up close to the very specific issues and challenges each community had. My highlight has to be supporting the development of a remarkable team of people as Cycle Taxi Pilots. This team of sixteen delivered over 3300 journeys together. Each one had the skills for cycling, but more importantly they had people skills and a great knowledge of the community. Each Cycle Pilot understood the importance of the relationship with their passengers and this shone through.
Dr Inkle’s report powerfully highlights the positive feedback from our passengers, describing how the empathy and attitude demonstrated by our Cycle Pilots delivered life-changing journeys.
Having seen myself the social and environmental benefits up close, I am a passionate advocate, and have the experience to prove, the cycle truly can be a mode of travel that exists in bringing people together. It is my hope from sharing the evidence of the benefits gained Bikeworks also gains traction in expanding into more communities.
Jamie Lawson, Inclusive Cycling Advisor
As the Inclusive Cycling Advisor, my role at Bikeworks sees me involved across a lot of activities to provide advice on inclusion, supporting colleagues with insight on how the world can be perceived from someone with lived experience of being a disabled person.
The population being targeted meant the Ride Side-by-Side service would engage people who have additional needs connected to loneliness and isolation.
Having delivered a small successful community offer, the Department for Transport funding supported Bikeworks in expanding the fleet so it could reach a greater number of people across London, impacting even more lives for the better.
It’s quite a bold statement from me, but the majority of people who have access to cycling are largely already included in society. As a woman who has cerebral palsy and because I get to see the many thousands of people who access cycling through Bikeworks, I find it really hard when others underestimate how powerful and life-changing a ride on a cycle can be, particularly for people who are experiencing social isolation.
My proudest moment was seeing the service start from zero and rapidly scale to a 5 day per week operation, with 7 Ride Side-by-Side’s and a dedicated team in place. As you’ll appreciate, this was the result of the dedication and passion from the Bikeworks team, and not easy.
The biggest lesson learnt for me and for Bikeworks, is the difference made by having the security of a large fund in place, like this one provided by the Department for Transport. When delivering innovation with the purpose of changing people’s lives for the better, small funds can never achieve this. Of course the big battle we face now, owing to the time limitation of the DfT fund – now finished, is to identify funds to continue.
Highlights throughout this time you’ll see reflected in Dr Inckles evaluation. Such as, being praised for our flexibility and compassion, while being recognised for the role Bikeworks has in eliminating barriers to cycling, makes me proud of what we have achieved.
The word that holds the most meaning for me is freedom, this really evidences how we bring inclusion to life.
To be part of this journey, from when we were awarded the funding, right through to the end, has been a great privilege to be a part of. I am so pleased Dr Inckles’ evaluation report will provide everyone with real insight into the positive impact cycling can have for everyone.
Evaluation Report | Ride Side-by-Side ‘cycle taxi’ service
View Infographic HERE
Read the summary version HERE
Read the full report HERE
At the start of 2024 the newly named Cycle Connect relaunched in West London. For more details please visit our Cycle Connect page.
We continue to look for funds to continue to scale back up the services across London. If you would like to talk to us about partnering to do this please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org