Big Bike Revival helps Tibetan asylum seeker find cycling nirvana

Tashi has taken up cycling thanks to the Big Bike Revival

Big Bike Revival helps Tibetan asylum seeker find cycling nirvana

Cycling has given Tashi a new-found sense of freedom – a freedom she can never enjoy in her homeland of Tibet – as she waits to see if she can stay in the UK.

Tashi is one of several asylum seekers who has been taught to ride a bike this summer after the Manchester City of Sanctuary charity took part in Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival. Not only has she enjoyed the health benefits of cycling, it has also provided her with a whole new social life.

Tashi, who lives in Denton, Greater Manchester, explains: “I am from Tibet. China has occupied my country and I cannot return. I am still waiting for the Home Office to give me the right to work and pay my taxes.

“I couldn’t ride a bike at all before. I was only staying at home. I had no cash for a bus and was walking everywhere if I did go out. I even had problems with my legs and ankles.

“I heard about the Big Bike Revival cycling project at the Manchester City of Sanctuary Conversation Club. I really wanted to learn to ride a bike. Now I can go anywhere I want! It makes me happy. It is good exercise for my body and it feels like freedom. I like my bike very much.

“I go to the station, leave my bike there and catch the train to Liverpool for my Home Office appointments. I go to groups and activities for support and to make friends on my bike. I don’t have to wait for buses any more,” Tashi says.

Tashi’s story proves how cycling can improve lives and I hope it acts as an inspiration to others. Cycling is good for your health, wellbeing, the economy and the environment.

Javed Saddique, Cycling UK

Jane Graystone, project worker for Manchester City of Sanctuary, said: “It has been a wonderful, fun experience to see the delight and lightness of heart that cycling has brought to asylum seekers who are living with a lot of stress and very few resources. It has given them independence to travel for free.”

Javed Saddique, Cycling UK’s Cycling Development Officer for Greater Manchester, said: “Tashi’s story proves how cycling can improve lives and I hope it acts as an inspiration to others. Cycling is good for your health, wellbeing, the economy and the environment.”

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