Gathering data can be time consuming and boring, so often staff don’t set about the task of monitoring progress with much relish. However, in our increasingly evidenced-based world, each year Life Cycle goes to great efforts to prove that we are having a positive impact on the community.
Life Cycle's 'Two's Company' project has received a very kind donation of a tandem bicycle, in memory of Adrian Hill, who sadly passed away last year.
Adrian used to work for Life Cycle as a mechanic and was a keen cyclist and lover of all things bicycle, and those close to him were keen for one of his beautifully kept bikes to help support our tandem rides for young people and adults who are blind and visually impaired.
Over the last 18 months I have been attending the Green Capital Partnership Sustainable Transport Action Group or STAG for short. One of the key focusses of STAG over the period has been the development of the Good Transport Plan. The idea originally came from the Bristol Food Network who pioneered the good food plan, to bring together disparate voices in the City to agree a shared vision on food issues.
Cycling in Bristol is on the increase, and one thing I’ve become aware of recently is the number of parents cycling to school with their primary aged children. I’ve been doing the school run since 2004 and in that time have noticed a real rise in the number of children cycling to school – in my area of North Bristol at any rate. My school route takes me across several catchment areas, so we not only see children on their way to our school, but to three, if not four others.
Huge congratulations to regular "Two's Company" back-rider Steve Ewens, who has successfully completed a gruelling Lands End to John O Groats ride on a tandem piloted by his brother - raising almost £4,000 for Life Cycle along the way!
Steve is one of the many blind or visually-impaired people who come out cycling on the back of a tandem with Life Cycle UK's pioneering Two's Company project. The project enlists the help of sighted volunteers to offer a regular programme of healthy, sociable group tandem rides to those who are unable to ride a bike independently.
Two’s Company is in a sense Life Cycle’s flagship project. We started it on a wing and a prayer back in 2006, and we really didn’t know if it would take off or not. Eight years later it is going strong and supports adults and children who are blind or visually impaired to experience cycling on the back of a tandem. We run 25 rides a year giving people who often find it very hard to exercise or get out into the open, a really enjoyable day out cycling. The project is one way that Life Cycle achieves its mission of transforming lives through cycling.
Growing levels of obesity amongst the population, including children, are well documented. The cause of this epidemic is complex and multi-faceted – but is linked to lifestyle changes over the last 50 years. Amongst the changes is the fall in the amount of exercise we and our children take. The current recommendation is that 5 -18 years take at least 60 minutes of “moderate” to “vigorous” physical activity each day. Yet less than one third of children achieve this.*
Life Cycle’s mission is to support more individuals to get cycling and to help them overcome the barriers that are preventing them from getting going. As an organisation, one of the issues that we find hardest to advise on is the issue of where to park your bike at home. Those who live in flats, houses on narrow terraced streets (which is half of Bristol), or who share accommodation are often prevented from cycling by virtue of having nowhere to store a bike in their home.
Life Cycle UK held a “Cycle and Active Travel Hustings” between Bristol’s parliamentary candidates to assess their positions on cycling and sustainable transport in Bristol.
I think it would be fair to say that buses and cyclists are not normally the best of friends. Cyclists tend to have a dim view of bus drivers, and are quick to criticise them for the way they drive, particularly overtaking too close and pulling in just in front of cyclists. Bus drivers likewise don’t tend to be that keen on cyclists.