On Sunday 29 July 2018, “Bruce” the bike and I are doing Ride-London for the Bike Project, a great, very local London charity which collects unwanted bicycles throughout the capital, fixes them up and donates them to refugees and asylum-seekers. Why?
Imagine living on £36 a week. It's enough for food, perhaps, but what about travel? If you need a new pair of shoes, what sacrifices will you have to make? These hard choices are the daily reality of a refugee in London. A bike can save a refugee £21 a week in bus fares, helping stretch their allowance further and can help avoid a refugee having to make the difficult choice of whether to forego eating a square meal in order to afford the rest of their living expenses.
Having fled persecution and atrocity in their country of origin, most refugees arrive in London with absolutely nothing. A bike helps refugees and asylum-seekers access food banks, legal advice, healthcare, education and much more. If they're lucky enough to receive official refugee status, a bike can help them find employment.
The Bike Project also runs cycle training for refugee women, empowering them to take control of their own transport – often for the first time in their lives. Refugee women often have hardly any experience of cycling, as it may not be encouraged in their home country. The women-only project, allows them to learn to ride in a warm, supportive environment.
It really is bikes to the rescue :)