In the Regents Park ward area of Camden, there exists a number of barriers for older people to get the most out of cycling in a safe environment. These issues includecultural and language barriers to joining cycling groups, or intimidation due to heavy-traffic around Euston rail station. Many older people from the ward come from low-income backgrounds or have health problems; 42.9% are deprived older people, and 44% admitted to only doing exercise two days a week or less.
Silver Cycling, with the help of TfL Cycling Grants London, was set up to address these issues. Over three years they aim to encourage and enable 180+ over 60’s in the area to take up regular cycling at Regents Park, using adapted, electric or normal cycles. The objectives are to help participants with increased mobility opportunities, better health and wider socialisation.
There is a weekday cycling club for three hours a day, forty-five weeks per year. TfL funding has helped to support training on safe cycling, purchase advice for bikes and e-bikes, servicing and repairs workshops, group rides and activities in the park and on road.
For participants there is a choice of four electric bicycles for people who have mobility problems, sixteen specially adapted bikes (trikes, side-by-sides, wheelchair friendly), as well as restored and donated road bikes.
Silver cycling volunteers assist the project by training and recruiting new cyclists, escorting participants on side-by-side bikes or first-time cyclists, training older participants, and promoting the programme.
Giving advice for those thinking about starting their own programme, Silver Cycling said to give yourself enough time to think about how to promote your project.
“I’m not a good cyclist, absolute beginner really, but let’s do this!” - Participant
“Thank you so much, this is really kind of you” – Participant