Cycling is growing in popularity in the UK for many reasons, not least the health benefits and financial savings, and environmental factors. However, the fact that more people are doing it doesn’t make that first trip any less daunting.
Cycling can be the only option for refugees when they first arrive in the UK, but they come with no knowledge of the local area. That’s where Bike Buddies comes in.
What’s the idea?
The idea of Bike Buddies is to pair a newly arrived refugee cyclist with a buddy, like you might have when you start a new school or job. The buddy knows the local area well and is able to help grow the confidence of the refugee cyclist.
Bike Buddies matches people who love cycling and are happy to share their knowledge of the local area and show it off, with someone who could really benefit from the support and knowledge. What’s the quickest route somewhere? Where’s the sneaky shortcut? Where are the safer routes and the green spaces?
Bike Buddy duties
Your exact duties will vary, but the general commitments you’ll need to make will be to hone your own cycling skills and remind yourself of the roads around your local area and any changes to the roads and directions.
Do some research on local services – particularly those without cost, like the local library – so that you can share information. Be on hand to cycle to your appointment with your buddy and help out with non-complicated social tasks.
Bike Buddies ask that you commit to a minimum of three rides per person, and more if you feel you can – you might be one of the few people they know in the area. If you can take on more than one buddy, that’s great. You’ll need to be 18+ and willing to undertake a DBS check, which you can do with companies like CareCheck carecheck.co.uk.
If you’re not a cyclist yourself, but you’d like to help and you’re wondering how your skills can be used, check out the Help Refugees website. Being the new person is always hard, and when you’ve left behind your home, family, job and more, in terrible circumstances, seeing a friendly face regularly will make a huge difference.
Of course, Bike Buddies must be competent cyclists with good local knowledge!