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Walking and Cycling Grants London blog

Jun,2024 Like2Bike
Like2Bike: Hackney Bike Bus

Like2Bike oversees a broad range of cycling activities in LB of Hackney schools. These include beginners' training (starting in Year 3), on-road training (Year 5), rides to secondary school (Year 6), and race days (participating in the Young Hackney cycling league).

Alongside these, Like2Bike also organises bike buses (marshalled group rides to school), rideouts (after school leisure rides) and a bike loan library: lending refurbished bikes (supplied by Westminster Wheels) to pupils who don't have one. The project continues Hackney’s original ‘Whole School Cycling’ concept.

The grant we received from WCGL allowed us to buy more bikes (and helmets and locks), which feed into other projects: breakfast club kids borrow a bike for the bike bus, which bike loanees also attend, and the bikes are used for our after school rides.

The funding also allowed us to pay for ride leaders and to promote the bike buses, which was a necessary part of creating and maintaining their momentum. This includes giving out colourful attendee badges, which are very popular with the kids.

Khadijah (Year 4): “I like the bike bus because you can ride with your friends to school.”

The plan is that buses eventually become autonomous, marshalled by parents and school TAs, and would then require only limited funding (i.e. to fix and replace loan bikes, produce badges, or to provide organisational oversight).

Casey (Year 5): “I like to go cycling because I get to learn new skills."

On the first ever bike bus we ran (funded by the Foundation for Integrated Transport) in May 2023, two pupils and one parent attended. On our last bike bus (at the time of writing in June 2024) we had 56 pupils and nine parents.

Chadarie (Year 5): “Cycling gives me strong legs, which helps when I play football.”

We run bike buses at three schools and the pupils who attend them love the ride. The 20 minute routes are more-or-less circular, with one or two 'bus stops' along the way, and are designed to include as much green space as possible. The exercise and fresh air is vital for kids' physical and mental health, and plenty of chat and laughter can be heard on the journey.

Madison (Year 4): “Riding with the bike bus gives me energy and keeps me fit."

Bike buses really are the future of the school run and we’d like to see them happen at every school. Multiple schools could join together to form bike bus clusters. Ideally, local councils would be funding them in tandem with rolling out a viable network of School Streets with segregated cycleways and low / no motor traffic.

Featured quotes are from some of our bike bus pupils.