Sustrans are a UK charity with the aim to make cycling easier and more accessible to everyone. They are currently delivering the Recycle a Bike project at Whitefield Secondary School in Barnet.
Sustrans received funding from TfL’s Walking Cycling Grants London grant scheme to run their Recycle a Bike project, which aims to train a small group of secondary school students to a competent level of bike maintenance. The students participate in workshops over 12 weeks, each week learning new bike maintenance skills. Here, the pupils repair and service unwanted bikes donated from the local community.
During the 6th session, students are given their own bike to work on and if they work hard, get to take the bike home. Students start with cleaning the cobwebs off the bike and chain. The students then become confident in taking both wheels off the bike, replacing the brake pads and naming various bike parts. So far, the students have been excited to show others what they have learnt and have been able to display focus not usually shown in a classroom.
Giving advice for those thinking about starting their own programme, Ellenie, Project Officer from Sustrans said: “You need to allow time for each session and don’t under estimate how much time you need to set up and take down everything. There are so many bits that come with a bike mechanics workshop and things go wrong, so you need to have a flexible approach.”
Ellenie went on to add: “The students were very focussed when working on their bikes and are looking forward to taking them home once they have finished the mechanics sessions. They even named their bikes”– Suzy, Cacu, Thunder and Georgio (after their cats).
“I have learnt how to take the wheel off my bike and I know lots of different parts of the bike, like the brake pads and brake cables” – Year 10 student.