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Get on your bike for Cycle to Work Day

A key worker has found a new lease of life since being gifted a bike to commute from her home in Ewood to the centre of Blackburn.

When the country went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, those who could were told to work from home but for people like Lisa Brown, a support worker in a homeless hostel, that wasn’t an option.

“I refused to get on public transport. I work with a lot of vulnerable people and I didn’t want to put them, my family or myself at risk so my only other choice was to walk. I have to drop my daughter at school before work so I was getting into work late every day by the time I walked there then was walking back home late in the evenings.”

Lisa found out about Active Lancashire’s Cycle Recycle scheme, delivered in partnership with Newground, part of Together Housing Group.

The scheme, established in partnership with Lancashire County Council, forms part of Active Lancashire’s wellbeing offer under the More Positive Together Project. It aims to support inactive unemployed Lancashire residents with a recycled bike to help encourage them to become active, while making them more mobile with the means to access employment opportunities.

During workshops delivered by Newground, participants renovate a bike from a waste site. Once it’s deemed roadworthy, they then get to take the bike home with them for free.

Due to social distancing restrictions and staff being furloughed, the workshops have been on hold but Active Lancashire partners The Bike Works and Cycles Recycled have continued to collect and renovate bikes for key workers like Lisa.

Lisa, who hadn’t been on a bike for over 20 years, said: “I push my bike to school with my daughter then when I’ve dropped her off, I hop on it and cycle to work. I haven’t been late for work since. It wakes you up in the morning and is a great way to de-stress in the evening after a demanding day.

“It has inspired a whole new level of healthy living. When I’m not working, we go out as a while family on bike rides. The kids are fitter and getting some fresh air and it’s something that brings us together. We’ve also started eating more healthy and we cook recipes together.

“It’s also great for your mental health. It gets the endorphins going and really perks you up.

“It’s turned my life around. I love it.”

Communities Programme Director Nic McGrath, added: “Cycling has been one of the few outdoor activities permitted during lockdown and that’s led to a lot of people rediscovering the pleasure of getting on two wheels.

“As the nation goes back to work, social distancing is going to be a huge challenge for those who previously used rush-hour public transport.

“Cycling is an ideal way to avoid mixing with other people in close quarters and touching surfaces, which is inevitable with peak-time buses and trains.

“Commuting by bike is healthy, environmentally friendly and gives you a great sense of having achieved something before you even start your working day.”

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