Sustrans has worked with Liverpool based cycling group, Cycle of Life, that aims to get more diverse groups of people in the city cycling.
BBC One has produced a documentary about the Toxteth based community cycling group, Cycle of Life and their work in the area.
The documentary follows the group’s founder, Ibe Hayter, who started Cycle of Life in 2020 to encourage more people to start cycling in Toxteth’s diverse community.
The group delivers programmes encouraging more people from the diverse communities of L8 to start cycling, learn bike maintenance, and make new friends.
Sustrans provided the documentary team with statistics taken from our Walking and Cycling Index highlighting how cycling levels are lower amongst ethnic minority groups.
Building connections in the local community
We have been working with Cycle of Life through our Liveable Neighbourhoods programme, supporting the group to build better connections with local schools by commissioning them to deliver interventions such as Dr Bike sessions.
Sustrans’ Liveable Neighbourhoods Officer for Liverpool, Paul Riley, also supported the group by delivering sessions to their summer school, on subjects ranging from the environment and healthy eating, to wildflowers and biodiversity.
Paul spoke about the impact of Cycle of Life:
“The team at Cycle of Life do vital work, as they encourage and enable people who may not have had the chance to experience the benefits of cycling before.
“In such a diverse area as L8, it is important that cycling is represented by people from different backgrounds – Cycle of Life ensures young kids are taught cycle skills by people who look like them, who live in their neighbourhoods, and who they see using the bike as a means of everyday transport.
“It is not just about those first wobbly rides, but about changing perceptions in communities – cycling as transport, not just for play.
“Around 40% of households in the area do not own a car. Everyday cycling is so important for social mobility. It is about giving people the opportunities in life that they might not have had otherwise.”
One of the highlights of the summer school was a 12-mile cycle, to a campsite in the Wirral, complete with a Mersey Ferry crossing where a number of the children had only just learned to ride.
Cycle of Life runs this free programme every year over the school summer holidays to ensure the children have opportunities to develop their confidence as cyclists and engage with the wider community.
Cycle of Life also works with Muslim women and refugees and asylum seekers in Liverpool, ensuring that people who may not have the opportunity to cycle, can enjoy its benefits.
On a strategic level, Cycle of Life is a strong advocate for the development of a safer active travel network across Liverpool.
Paul described the positive benefit cycling has had on people’s lives:
“We have seen since the inception of this club the positive difference it has made in people’s lives as it has improved their physical, mental, and emotional health.
“Learning how to cycle has helped people make friends, see parts of the city that they might not have otherwise been able to, and expand their horizons.
“Whilst improvement can make cycling safer through improved infrastructure, giving people the skills and confidence is key so they can access opportunities that might otherwise have been denied to them.
“Working with the Freshfield Foundation on our Liveable Neighbourhoods Programme has given us the flexibility and opportunity to be more imaginative in our delivery.
“We have the chance to commission fantastic organisations such as Cycle of Life to deliver for us, which means not only that we support smaller organisations to grow and become more resilient, but that once our work in a particular project area comes to a close, we are able to leave a stronger legacy through the connections we have made and the local organisations we’ve worked with.”
The programme airs at 20:00 on BBC One in the North West, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire regions. It can also be watched on repeat on BBC iPlayer.
Full article in this link: Liverpool cycle group building greater diversity featured on BBC One documentary – Sustrans.org.uk