Meet our volunteers: Chris Tupman

A group of four men in hi-viz jackets
Chris Tupman (second from right) supports asylum seekers, refugees and local community members to cycle. Photos: Rory Goldring, Asylum Link
Chris Tupman was recently nominated in our Volunteer Awards 2023 in the Most Inspiring Individual category. To mark Refugee Week, we caught up with Chris to find out how and why he volunteers for Ayslum Link Bike Club Merseyside

Helping asylum seekers, refugees and the local community 

Chris commits one day a week to Asylum Link Bike Club, which became a Cycling UK affiliated community cycle club in August 2022.

The group, which is part of Asylum Action, offers weekly rides to asylum seekers, refugees and local community members every Tuesday afternoon. They say: "Our rides are a lot of fun and they have created lasting friendships between people from across the world and people from the local area."  

These cycling activities are hugely beneficial to participants' mental and physical health. During multiple lockdowns when people were very isolated, many asylum seekers and refugees were placed in unfamiliar accommodation without friends or family members. The Bike Club gave them an opportunity to get to know their local areas, explore their surroundings, meet other people and build confidence on a bike.

A group of cyclists outside a building

Cycling development officer Magdalena Cichocka says: "We supported Asylum Link Bike Club through our Community Cycle Club programme. We were able to give the group funding to cover the costs of Cycling UK training: group leader, advanced maintenance and first aid. We also assisted with providing equipment such as helmets, hi-vis, inner tubes, pumps and so on. During the winter months, we also helped with costs so the asylum seekers could have hot drinks while out on a bike ride."

Asylum Action also offers other volunteer-led activities such as allotment, tree planting, climbing and beach cleaning. 

Chris is Going the Extra Mile

Last Tuesday 20 June, the club marked Refugee Week with a Cycling Celebration picnic and games, during which ride leader Chris was presented with a Cycling UK Going the Extra Mile thank you card and certificate in recognition of his nomination in our Volunteer Awards 2023, and to show how much the group values his contribution.  


Chris is a trained first aider, as well as a volunteer ride leader. He says he commits one day a week to Asylum Link Bike Club: "To help provide a safe, enjoyable group activity and opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees to get to know the local area and beyond."

Chris has been a hugely dedicated and effective ride leader for our cycle club

Asylum Link Merseyside

Nominating him for a volunteer award, the Asylum Link said: "Chris has been a hugely dedicated and effective ride leader for our cycle club, which enables people seeking asylum to learn about safe bike riding and discover new parts of our city. He is so supportive and empowering of our participants. He sees the potential in all people and empowers them to be able to participate through his patient supportive background work. We love Chris!"

Furthermore: "He went the extra mile in creating a new 'Learn to Ride' session in his own time with beginner cyclists. His patient guidance has enabled them to gain skills and confidence and now participate in our group rides." 

Showing solidarity

Chris explains how he volunteers to: "Show solidarity with refugees in a ‘hostile environment ‘ and welcome them in the local community."  The task that he's most proud of being able to teach an adult to ride a bike.

As for the benefits of being a volunteer himself, he says they are: "A positive routine, a greater understanding of others cultures, meeting new people and learning new skills." He adds to anyone considering volunteering in cycling: "Definitely do it". Chris really lives Cycling UK's values of Cycling for All and Believing in Better.

Get involved

Do you know someone who deserves some recognition for their cycling-related volunteering? Find how to thank volunteers for what they do. There'll be more about our Volunteer Award winners and runners-up in the next issue of Cycle magazine, which will be out at the end of July, 

If you would like to volunteer in cycling, find out about our latest opportunities or find you nearest cycling group or club