Schoolchildren will learn to 'Build A Bike' thanks to Cycling UK donation

Two men stand either side of a red and white bicycle outside a green door and a set of high railings. They are standing to the left of the frame, a picnic bench is on the right.
Delivery of the bikes takes place at Community Cycleworks ready for them to be used in courses in local schools
Bicycles which were abandoned and left unclaimed at Southern Railway stations will find grateful new owners, after Cycling UK stepped in to support a South London community group which teaches maintenance skills and problem-solving

Fifteen young people in South London will learn cycle maintenance skills and earn a renovated bike of their own, thanks to a partnership between Cycling UK and Southern Railway.

Cycling UK work across the country with local no-for-profit groups to inspire people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to cycle more often.

Southern Railway has donated the bikes, which they had found abandoned and left unclaimed at its stations, to the UK’s leading cycling charity. These bikes have now been delivered to Walworth-based Community Cycleworks, who run ‘Build A Bike’ courses with Southwark schools and youth clubs. Participants can keep the bike they fix, or give it to a family member as a gift.

The children learn maintenance skills, along with a thorough understanding of how a bike works, allowing them to solve problems when they are cycling. Research shows that this knowledge boosts self-confidence as a cyclist, so encourages children to use their bikes more often.

Toby Edwards, a London-based training and cycling development officer for Cycling UK said: “Cycling UK is hugely grateful to Southern Railway for donating these abandoned bicycles which will make a real difference to the lives of children in South London.

Whether it's cycling to school or riding for fun with their friends, hundreds of miles will hopefully be clocked up once these bikes have been brought back to life

Toby Edwards, Cycling UK's training and cycling development officer for London

“The ‘Build A Bike’ project, run by Community Cycleworks offers young people a chance to learn how to maintain and fix donated cycles which gives them or their family member a real sense of ownership and pride. Whether it's cycling to school or riding for fun with their friends, hundreds of miles will hopefully be clocked up once these bikes have been brought back to life.”

Southern now has partnerships with four bike-restoration charities on its network and delivers batches of 25-30 abandoned bikes to each in turn as stocks build up. These new partnerships follow the train company’s successful schemes with West Sussex County Council and Horsham District Council, whose recycling programmes restored abandoned bikes for key workers at local NHS Trusts.

Angie Doll, managing director for Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “It’s fantastic to be working with all our partners to promote healthy, green transport by extending the life of previously unwanted bikes. Cycling UK can find these bikes a variety of deserving new owners. And by encouraging young people to cycle and look after their bikes we’re creating lasting benefits.

“At this challenging time, we’re proud to help keep Britain moving safely and sustainably. We’re building strong local partnerships right across our network to help communities recover and prosper.”

The donation is a timely boost for cycle education in South London coming shortly after the Government announced an £18m funding package to provide Bikeability training across the country. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said when announcing the funding that the Government wanted to ensure that every child could access the life skill of cycling by 2025.


Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often  
  2. For more information about Community Cycleworks visit their website
  3. Any bikes and parts of bikes not suitable for Community Cycleworks’s ‘Build A Bike’ project will be used in their ‘Bike Fix Fridays’ scheme, which aims to provide local young people with a healthy, social place to go as well as free or at-cost bike maintenance and repairs.

Press contact information

For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900 - 1700) please call Richard Wevill on 07785 381648 or email Out of hours, call 07786 320 713