Hornbeam JoyRiders basked in the media spotlight today, being featured on BBC London News(go to 4 mins 40 secs), ITV London News, and BBC Radio News (go to 1 min 25 secs) as a shining example of one of the 30 local community projects across the capital Transport for London supports through the TfL Cycling Grants London. We were also covered by local media.
Hornbeam JoyRiders has been running since Jan 2017 and has had around 250 participants take part in rides around Waltham Forest (including family bike rides with dads and children), particularly off-road in some of the borough’s most beautiful natural areas. The TfL funding has enabled us to reach out to women and their families in Waltham Forest to help them gain confidence cycling, learn from scratch or brush up their skills and enjoy cycling with a supportive group.
We’ve also recruited and trained 20 Ride Leaders, four women have become instructors and at least at least 50 have been inspired to buy their own bikes. Anyone who doesn’t have access to a bike can hire one of Waltham Forest’s bikes for free on rides and ride with us, including more stable three-wheeler electric-assisted bikes, cargo bikes for carrying children, and specialist bikes for disabled passengers.
TfL is committed to increasing the number of women and diverse groups that cycle, including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and people with disabilities. Hornbeam JoyRiders has reached out to Muslim women in particular, but women from all backgrounds are welcome.
Cycling Grants London funding particularly helps groups that are traditionally under-represented among those choosing the healthy and sustainable way of travelling. By breaking down the barriers to cycling and making it safer, TfL aims to diversify cycling and make it accessible to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
The other winning projects stretch across London and range from schemes that train young people in bike maintenance, a project that encourages women working in hospitals to cycle, training for young offenders to become bike mechanics, cycling groups for disabled and homeless people and a cycle training and maintenance project for the Hindu Bengali community.
Carolyn Axtell, Hornbeam JoyRiders Founder and Project Lead explained the backround of the project to the TV crews on a ride today at Jubilee Park, Leyton: “Hornbeam JoyRiders aims to empower women through introducing them to the joys of cycling, which can also help to build their confidence in other areas of life.
“I started taking my three kids to school by bike about three years ago and we found that it liberated us as a family. The school run became a pleasure rather than a stressful experience.
“Two years ago I discovered that at least 90 per cent of the other local mums would love to cycle but hadn’t had the opportunity, or had barriers preventing them, such as lack of confidence and not knowing how to cycle. This is why I started organising informal, social bikes rides once a month for women during school hours, and once a month for families and women-only group training for those who couldn’t cycle.
“The Cycling Grants London funding has enabled me to build a strong, ever-expanding network of participants and volunteers, as previously we didn’t have enough Volunteer Ride Leaders to accommodate all of the demand.”
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner who came to join the JoyRiders today was definitely impressed by our project and explained how he feels projects like these are essential to help broaden the appeal and benefits of cycling: “By giving Londoners of all abilities, ages and backgrounds the confidence to cycle, we can improve their health and quality of life, as well as reducing toxic air pollution, which improves our city for everyone.”
TfL offers free Cycle Skills training to give people of all abilities the chance to improve their confidence on the capital’s roads.
To book free cycle skills training please use this link: