Cycling UK helps women from deprived Birmingham communities

Handsworth Beat the Street CCC members with Cycling UK’s Vanessa Morris and Ed Wicks from Big Birmingham Bikes
Cycling UK has helped dozens of Birmingham women from hard-to-reach communities to become healthier and happier this year by getting on their bikes.

The national cycling charity has teamed up with Big Birmingham Bikes to set up eight new Community Cycling Clubs in and around the city.

According to latest statistics, 209 people have so far benefitted through these clubs – 81% of them females, and 62% from deprived communities.

Ian Richardson, Cycling UK’s Director of Cycling, said: “Dozens of people are now riding regularly with the Community Cycling Clubs in Birmingham, bringing huge benefits to both their physical and mental health, not to mention the local economy and environment.

“Of the 209 people involved, 28% were previously deemed physically inactive – which is defined as doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week – and the same percentage were non-regular cyclists.

To see how the lives of all these people have been improved through cycling is extremely rewarding.”

Ian Richardson, Cycling UK’s Director of Cycling

“Our figures also show that 80% of the beneficiaries are non-white, with Asian or Asian British the most common ethnicity group, while 22% are aged over 55.

“To see how the lives of all these people have been improved through cycling is extremely rewarding.”

Twenty-two of the members of Birmingham’s new Community Cycle Clubs have also become volunteer Ride Leaders.

Sam Sahdra, 61, cycles with Handsworth Beat the Street CCC after learning to ride this year. She said: “The group feels like a family. Socialising with the other ladies is really enjoyable, everyone supports each other and all the women who attend feel more active and happier in themselves.”

Joy Anibaba, 51, has been a key figure in the growth of the cycling group Joyful Bellas and Fellas at Edgbaston Reservoir. She is diabetic and has high blood pressure, but cycling regularly has helped her lose weight.

Joy, a trained Ride Leader, said: “Coming to the group doesn’t feel like exercise and it’s great to find something that is so much fun. Being outside in the fresh air in all weathers is exhilarating. It also helps your mental health and wellbeing and is a great reliever of stress.”

Vanessa Morris, Cycling UK’s Community Clubs Development Officer in Birmingham, said: “All the groups we have helped set up are full of great people who are really friendly and supportive of each other – and they are growing all the time, so eventually we will see many more beneficiaries than the 200-plus recorded so far.

“I hope Sam’s and Joy’s comments inspire others to discover the gift of cycling and share its endless benefits.”