The Community Bike Bus project encourages people from the community to cycle together to a centralised location, for example, supporting older people to cycle to a community centre. It can be adapted to support a range of communities, such as day centres, community centres, places of worship, libraries, places of work, etc.
Working closely with a particular centralised location, the bus will use as many quiet streets as possible, avoiding main roads, for safety and to ensure all cycling abilities can be catered for. The bus will use fully risk-assessed circular routes that maximise participation from within the local area.
It can run to and from the location once a week (e.g. on Fridays or for a particular event), throughout spring and summer, totalling roughly 20 outings, allowing for good weather and bank holidays. The aim is for the bus to become an event that participants will look forward to and want to get involved with.
An experienced ride leader and marshals will control movement through the streets. The bus should include signage and clearly communicate its scale and the function to other road users. This can be done by instructors and volunteers wearing Bike Bus branded high visibility tabards. Cycling instruction for children and adults (depending on the community asset e.g. youth centre or day centre), including group riding practice, can be provided as well as a bike mechanic that can fix participants’ bikes before the bus. Bikes can also be provided for those who do not own one, to open the opportunity to as many participants as possible.
The aim of the bus is to foster a culture of leaving the car at home and cycling instead for short trips over the course of the project, and beyond, involving participants of all ages, helping to increase their physical health, wellbeing, and mental focus. Promotions may include a “Car Free Friday” to persuade participants to join the Bike Bus instead on that day. Word of mouth, posters, flyers, and social media channels can help spread the word.
Target audience and engagement
- The main target audience for this project are members of your chosen community (e.g. people that attend a particular day centre)
- In co-ordination with the chosen community, the project will organise promotional meetings and engage with people in the community using word of mouth, posters and flyers. Local publicity and social media will also be utilised. There could also be information sessions about the project
- Small to medium (10 - 40 participants)
- Geographically – anywhere
- Bikes for adults and/or children - these could be purchased or you could form a partnership with a local bike shop or bike lending scheme (a number of local authorities have these), using the money in the budget allocated to purchasing bikes to facilitate this instead. This would remove the need for bike storage and maintenance costs
- Non-standard bikes for people with disabilities, depending on your audience and participants
- High-vis vests and bike flags
- Helmets for adults and children (NB children should always wear a helmet, and helmets are recommended for adults but not compulsory)
- Basic cycle repair equipment (for brakes and wheels)
- Project leader
- Form relationships with community and recruit participants
- Oversee project, ensure the participants feel safe and enjoy their experience
- Plan and manage the routes that will be the Bike Buses
- Ensure all funding criteria and documentation is met
- Run risk assessment for safeguarding, injuries and to identify any other concerns which may affect project delivery
- Gather feedback from participants and parents/carers to plan for future sessions and projects
- The project lead should have the requisite level of DBS, understand health and safety needs and preferably be first aid trained (if not another person in the group should a qualified first aider).
- Cycle Instructor
- Run the cycling sessions
- Ensure participants feel confident and well looked-after
- Must be a qualified and experienced instructor
- Help participants with the sessions and provide encouragement
- Contribute to overseeing activity and potentially fix any equipment issues
- Eventually overtake one instructor’s role to reduce the overall cost of the project
- Training opportunities for participants to become volunteers
- Storage space
- You will need somewhere to store bikes and helmets. The locations you are working with may have space. Local councils may be able to provide space or give advice on where to store bikes. You could also use a well-secured shipping container, see if anyone will lend you one, otherwise you could buy one as a last resort. Try to keep this as close to the centralised location as possible. An alternative is to form a partnership with a local bike shop or bike lending scheme (a number of local authorities have these), using the money in the budget allocated to purchasing bikes to facilitate this instead. This would remove the need for bike storage and maintenance costs.
- Advertising materials
- Online advertising via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
- Posters and flyers
Equipment project costs
- Bikes (e.g. Adult bikes £250 x 6 or Children’s bikes £150 x 8) £1,200 - 1,500
- Bike helmets (£15 x 8) £120
- Cycle instructor (£100 per day x 14 days) £1,400
- Enhanced DBS checks (if needed) £150
- 1 x day of Group Marshal training £100
- Bike fixing (Dr Bike) (£30 per hour x 6 hours) £180
- Basic repair equipment £100
- Insurance: Liability and Theft £400
- Storage (if needed) £700
- High-vis vests £80
- Printing flyers and forms £120
Top tips/Key learnings
- Engage with and listen to every participant; they will provide valuable insights into how you can improve your project
- Revise risk assessments of the activities at intermittent points to ensure activities run safely and more smoothly
- It is good to measure whether participants are ‘more or less’ confident in cycling after participating in your project, or whether it has encouraged them to cycle more. This is done by a ‘hands up’ survey where participants are asked to confirm or not, certain statements about their view of cycling
- Take advantage of the training programme that is offered by Walking and Cycling Grants London
Maximising local contacts
- Engage with any existing community networks you may have to recruit participants
- Utilise networks to get in-kind support (volunteer organisations and local centres, community centres, schools etc.)
This project idea was provided by Transport for London - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - Youtube
If you decide to run your own version of this project in your community, please email us at email@example.com. We love to hear that we are inspiring people to walk and cycle.