The first three projects here were all part of the Hackney Family Cycling Project, funded by Transport for London via their Cycling Grants scheme. We bundled together the Hackney Family Cycling Library, the Family Bike Rides and Tots & Cargobikes in the Park together into one project.
Hackney Family Cycling Library
These sessions gave families a chance to look at options of how to take their kids around, try out different kit on their bikes, have a go on a cargobike or two, then borrow cycling kit for a month until the next session so that they could get the right cycling solution for them.
About the Library
The Family Cycling Library was set up by Ruth-Anna Macqueen during 2016 with donated items, lending them out like a ‘library’ to families who need to try out cycling kit for families. Families might be trying out kit before deciding what to buy, or borrowing equipment for a family cycling outing, for example. This helps families save money, and helps make the right decision to get the whole family cycling instead of going in the car or on public transport.
CarryMe Bikes C.I.C. worked with Ruth-Anna on Family Bike Rides to go with the Library, and then we put in a funding application to boost these activities, and add in a third element – the Tots & Parents cargobike sessions. Our application was successful!
With the funding from Cycling Grants London we were able to boost the Library with new kit, more kit, and to link it with the Family Bike Rides. We also offered one FREE cargobike hire per Library, for one lucky family each time!
Family Bike Rides
With funding from Cycling Grants London granted in Autumn 2016, Hackney Family Cycling and CarryMe Bikes ran short, fun bike rides suitable for all the family – even the tiniest tots.
Using cargobike riders to help marshall the rides, and offering free hire of cargobikes for those with babies and small children, we started from London Fields in Hackney (by the Lido swimming pool) and rode mainly along back streets, quiet roads and parks to another local park where we had a picnic (if the weather is kind enough!).
The aim was to provide a safe environment where even the smallest children on balance bikes could be shepherded within a group of other cyclists, boosting the skills and confidence of families to take to the road on bikes.
Tots & Cargobikes in the Park
This part of the project allowed us to hold mini-events in various local parks where it was totally free for families to come along and have a go on the cargobikes together with their little tots, in a safe environment. It allowed mums to get some exercise in the fresh air while actually with their little ones, and try out a new and exciting form of transport at the same time. We were on hand to help with cycling confidence and tips for safe handling. Families loved this project which was held in Victoria Park and Millfields Park.
The success of the Hackney Family Cycling Library, held in London Fields, led to us winning funding to take the library to the road and run a ‘mobile library’ of family cycling kit! We worked with the lovely Hackney Playbus, Wheelie Tots, Round Chapel Families Project and Joyriders to hold the lending Library events in different locations in Hackney, Haringey and Waltham Forest. We transported all our Library kit by ecargobike and did loads of amazing outreach to new communities who hadn’t been able to access the Library before.
Way back near the start of the creation of CarryMe we got funding from Sustrans’ Cleaner Air Champions project to work together with Outspoken to put on workshops where businesses could find out about better ways of transporting their goods and cargo….by bike of course.
Mums & Babes By Bike
This is one of our favourite projects. Our work on the Family Cycling Library highlighted that low-income parents and particularly low-income or single mums didn’t have bikes, and had even less confidence and resources to get involved with borrowing bike seats or trailers. So we refurbished donated bikes, long-term lent out Library kit, and gave mums cycle confidence training, so that each piece of the puzzle was completed and each Mum had intensive support to get pedalling with their little one(s). The project was a hit and we struggled to keep up with demand! It was gratifying to help low-income parents and make such a massive difference to how they could live their lives as a family.