We're working with Transport for London (TfL) to deliver the Healthy Street Officers programme. As part of this, we’ve been working with Hounslow Council in west London, to open the borough’s first inclusive cycle hub.
Part of Hounslow’s Local Implementation Plan 2019-2041 is to give people who don’t usually cycle, the opportunity to have a go and see how they like it so they can be more active.
The hub is in Inwood Park and there really is a cycle to suit everyone.
This hub is open to people who live, work or study in Hounslow, but there is potential to set them up in any borough.
Helping people recover from the effects of isolation
Many of the people who have taken part in the Inclusive Cycle Hub have experienced long periods of isolation.
Some have been shielding too. This isolation has caused stress and anxiety.
Crowded spaces and a lack of toilet facilities because of Covid-19 restrictions have also limited their ability to spend time outdoors and get involved in physical activity.
Safe cycling for all abilities
Instructors at Hounslow’s Inclusive Cycle Hub offer its members safe cycling for all abilities.
There’s also a variety of different types of cycles. Some are side-by-side, others have wheelchair platforms attached to them and there are tricycles and regular bikes too.
And everyone says how much happier and healthier they feel after the sessions.
Cycling for pleasure tailored for specific physical and mental needs
The team at the hub makes sure everyone is safe and physically distanced. But the sessions are very sociable and fun.
They are tailored for adults and children with physical and learning difficulties and for people who are experiencing poor mental health.
We’ve formed a partnership between the borough and the London-based social enterprise, Bikeworks.
This partnership has made it possible to give people who don’t usually have access to adapted cycles, the opportunity to try out a variety of cycles that suit their needs.
Friends, family and carers benefit too
Additional benefits to the cycling hub are that the members’ friends, family and carers enjoy the quality time that’s sociable and outdoors in a safe environment.
The hub also brings a diverse range of people together who want to get active and have a go at cycling.
Benefits of an inclusive cycling hub
- It provides the opportunity for safe, off-road, pleasant exercise to keep fit and healthy.
- With Bikeworks’ talented instructors, the cycling can be as gentle or hard as required.
- Adapted cycles are available to fulfil a wide range of needs and can be ridden by all ages.
- The instructors will set goals to achieve if that’s what participants want. This gives a great sense of achievement as well as a good dose of motivation.
Developing the Inclusive Cycling Hub is a fantastic example of a partnership working for the community.
This partnership between Hounslow, Bikeworks, Transport for London and us has provided the community with training sessions from expert instructors.
It also gives people a place to securely store the bikes and access to a selection of adapted bikes.
Helping with rehabilitation: Nick's story
Writer, Nick Cole joined the Inclusive Cycling Hub as soon as it became available.
Here’s what he has to say about what cycling means to him now:
“This Inclusive Cycling Hub is very important to me.
“I had a stroke in 2009. But prior to the stroke, I used to cycle a lot for pleasure and to work every day. My weekend cycle rides would be 50km.
“Following the stroke, I resolved to set goals and targets to measure my rehabilitation progress.
"As I was now ‘lop-sided’ I could no longer ride a conventional bike, so I investigated tricycles.
“In summer 2016 we went to the Calvert Trust on Exmoor, where I first tried recumbent cycling.
"I thoroughly enjoyed it as it felt safe, stable, and intuitive. I decided to buy a recumbent trike of my own when we got home.
“Throughout my journey from hospital bed to regular recumbent road trips, cycling has allowed me to measure my progress and has kept me active."
Giving children their independence: Caren's story
Caren Tildesley has one 9-year-old son who has autism and one 7-year-old son who has NT.
Being able to try out the tricycles gave her sons some independence:
“We wanted to join in on the all-ability cycling because our 9-year-old with learning difficulties struggles with regular bicycles. And his, and his sister's cycling lessons were interrupted due to lockdown.
“We really enjoyed the sessions at the Inclusive Cycling Hub.
"My son was immediately able to use the tricycles and get the independence he really longs for.
"His brother was also able to ride. He never gets the opportunity otherwise as we are unable to ride as a family.
"It is a pursuit that most families take for granted that they can do on a regular basis.
“We’re definitely interested in joining future sessions at the Inclusive Cycling Hub on the excellent quality bikes.
"We would like to get the practice in road safety once the track at Inwood Park has been resurfaced.
"Hopefully, my son will finally get to ride his two-wheeler though as I am not sure we have the capacity to own a trike ourselves!”
Read more about how we’re supporting and delivering Transport for London’s Healthy Streets programme.