Originally called Play on Wheels, the project won funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery through the 2014 Dream Fund and is also recognised as a games legacy for Glasgow. While the name has changed, the aim of the project has not: giving every four year old in Glasgow the opportunity to learn to ride a bike before they start school.
Over the next two years, 500 pedal and balance bikes will be placed across 50 community organisations where volunteers will be trained as either cycle trainers or in cycle maintenance.
As a longer term goal the project hopes that cycling will become a regular and enjoyable part of young peoples’ lives allowing children to be able to 'trade up' as they grow, through refurbished bikes provided by the Glasgow Bike Station. However you look at it, Play on Pedals is a big project, one Polly is excited to be involved with.
Polly grew up in the Forest of Dean and did lots of cycling with her family, but it wasn't until she moved to London that she really became passionate about cycling. While at Goldsmiths University she discovered pedal powered cinema group, Magnificent Revolution and roller racing events company Rollapaluza and was soon out on social rides with like-minded friends.
I would like the project to become self-sustainable, so that there is true longevity after the funding ends. Play on Pedals has the potential to get entire families involved in cycling; it’s about having fun on your bike. We need to make sure people understand that this project is about giving kids their first positive experiences on bikes – experiences that will encourage them as they grow older and want to cycle more.”
Polly said: "I rode with a friend to Berlin and back in 2010 – it was the best thing ever. When I finished university I started working for a charity that carried out lots of work with schools and communities – which got me thinking that a job combining the two would be ideal."
The project is still in its early stages and she recognises that there are still some challenges. Glasgow's weather may be a deterrent for some families and the team is still working on expanding the project’s scope in order to access all children, especially those who aren’t in the nursery system, but these hurdles don’t dampen Polly’s spirits.