London (UK) Monday 24th April 2023: Along with strategic partners, we have launched London’s first Inclusive Cycling Centre to tackle ongoing inequalities, across London and beyond.
Situated on the world-famous Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Bikeworks Inclusive Cycling Centre will showcase specialist cycles from trusted brands such as Van Raam and TomCat. In addition to being an online premium dealer, the Centre compliments by being a one-stop-shop providing knowledge on the right cycle to purchase.
People can spend time trialing specialist cycles using the off-road beautiful spaces of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, or by joining a Bikeworks inclusive cycling All-Ability Club, where trained Cycle Instructors will support riders with the individual fit of a cycle and share advice.
Co-Founders and Co-CEO’s, Jim Blakemore and Zoe Portlock, created Bikeworks 17 years ago to tackle barriers to participation and to develop a programme of cycling activities that ensures no one is left behind. Seizing the opportunity of London being awarded the 2012 Games, Bikeworks was founded to connect the most excluded people to the legacy this would create.
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Jim Blakemore, Bikeworks Co-CEO & Co-Founder comments “Promoting cycling for everyone is at the heart of what we do at Bikeworks. No one should be left out from experiencing the joy and freedom of cycling and the health benefits it brings. Adapted cycles are a considerable investment, so it’s essential people receive a tailored face-to-face service from an experienced team, including the opportunity to try-out a range of cycles.”
As a social enterprise, Bikeworks has never been so relevant, with a cost-of-living crisis and health inequalities worsening, the social enterprise has become synonymous with innovation and will continue to use ‘cycles for good’ to create social impact.
Zoe Portlock, Co-CEO & Co-Founder of Bikeworks comments: “We believe everyone deserves to enjoy the freedom, happiness and health benefits of cycling. Inequalities prevent many people from taking part, enjoying and discovering greater physical and mental wellbeing. The Centre is a massive milestone for Bikeworks as we continue our journey advocating for inclusive cycling and investment at grass-roots level.”
The evolving inclusive cycling offer includes a Cycle Taxi Service that addresses loneliness and isolation, and a rehabilitation programme to be launched later this year. Bikeworks engages 3,200 Londoners through weekly All Ability Clubs across 6 park locations, designed for people with learning, physical and/or sensory disabilities and health conditions, who enjoy cycling on a range of adapted cycles.
Instrumental in supporting the vision of the Inclusive Cycling Centre is the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) who provided a grant of £55,000. Speaking at the launch earlier this month, Paul Brickell, Director of Regeneration & Community commented:
“Bikeworks do such great work in making sure everyone can have access to cycling. “We are particularly proud to support this new Centre for Excellence based on Chobham Manor, which is the first neighbourhood created on the Park. This is another fitting legacy from the London 2012 Games.”
The Centre also received financial support of £50,000 from the London Marathon Foundation’s Active Spaces Fund which has awarded more than £2.4 million to improve and create places, spaces and facilities in London to support children, young people and marginalised groups and communities to lead active and healthy lives.
Marianna Sikorowska, Funding Manager at the London Marathon Foundation, said: “Our mission is to inspire activity so communities in London and across the UK can lead active and healthy lives. We’re proud to have funded Bikeworks to create the UK’s first Inclusive Cycling Centre, so many more people of all abilities can participate in accessible cycling activities.”
Sport England research shows that Disabled people are twice as likely to be physically inactive (41%), compared with those without a disability (20%).
Sustrans, the UK walking, wheeling and cycling charity, provides evidence that cycling policy has too often served the needs of people who are more likely to already cycle. The potential to engage others is huge: 55% of people from ethnic minority groups who never cycle would like to start. And 38% of people at risk of deprivation and 31% of disabled people who do not cycle would also like to give it a go.
Reducing pressure on the NHS cycling can support physical activity and mental wellbeing, helping people avoid or mitigate long-term health conditions. This can reduce pressure on the NHS and social care,improving people’s healthy life years. The 2022 Sustrans Walking and Cycling Index found walking and wheeling prevents 20,377 serious long-term health conditions each year, saving the NHS £134.5 million per year.
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See Bikeworks on the BBC London news
Marc, Sasha and Siobhan joined Bikeworks to launch our Inclusive Cycling Centre. This was a chance to showcase their skills and share with reporter Thomas Magill, why cycling matters, and why they like coming to the All Ability Club.