ASCEND is part of the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) STRIVE project, funded by The Big Lottery and the European Social Fund and project managed by Hertfordshire County Council. In May, we ran a Bike Maintenance and Bikeability project to encourage participants to become safe cyclists, through Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the national Standards Cycling Proficiency. Four bikes were donated by the local community and part of the programme was to learn how to maintain and repair the bicycles and bring them up to a safe standard. Once road worthy, the bicycles were used to teach participants the essentials of riding a bike on the road, which included rules of the road, and riding in different environments including a bike lane, countryside roads, crossing intersections, negotiating roundabouts etc.
Two of the participants, Jason and Amy really enjoyed the course. Jason had not ridden a bike since his BMX days as a child, and really enjoyed participating in a physical outdoor activity. The project has given him the confidence to ride on the roads and improve his communication skills; and he was awarded both the Level 1 Bike Maintenance and the Level 3 Safe Cycling certificate! On presentation of his certificate, Jason said, “Now I want to learn more. I want to drive a car and work repairing bikes, or perhaps even motorbikes or cars”.
Amy rarely used her bike, which was abandoned in the back of her garden. The project allowed her to get the bike repaired, built up her confidence generally and to achieve the Level 3 Safe Cycling certificate. On receiving her certificate, Amy promised that she would finally use her bike and won’t let it rust in the back of her garden again.
This project has given all the participants an inexpensive, sustainable and environmentally friendly way to travel around and to be more independent and because of its success, the project is going to continue with a Level 2 Bike Maintenance course, in partnership with Safe Riding.