Full Cycle Community Bike Project has relocated to New Malden to promote affordable cycling across Kingston.
The eco-conscious community project operates in a workshop where mechanics and volunteers recondition donated bikes to give them a new life.
Cycling has obvious physical and environmental benefits, but Full Cycle emphasises the positive effects on improving mental health and wellbeing.
Gary Lee, Founding Director, said: “We receive bikes which come in different states, some need a few tweaks and others’ parts are salvaged for future use.
“We work with Refugee Action, donating bikes to Ukrainian refugees who are new to Kingston.
“By cycling, they can familiarise themselves with a region that is alien to them.
“It’s also good for getting to appointments – some people are tight for money and can’t afford public transport or cars while cycling allows them to make more appointments and improve their life.”
Kingston has an increasing number of residents driven by high-density developments and a large student population.
Although the borough is perceived as an affluent area, it has pockets of deprivation and Full Cycle aims to provide affordable cycling to people from all backgrounds.
The project helps people suffering from social exclusion or on a low income, as well as people recovering from homelessness and drug addiction.
Callum Harbord, manager of the workshop, added: “We think everyone should have access to a bike and want to shed light on the importance of active travel.”
Once repaired, bikes are donated directly to good causes or sold to the public, with profits sourcing new parts to allow Full Cycle to continue subsiding bikes for local charities.
In light of the new workshop opening, Full Cycle is offering ‘fix your own bike’ classes to teach essential cycling maintenance skills using workshop tools.
Lee said: “A lot of people are very keen to do the work themselves and many people return to share their new-found mechanic and problem-solving skills as volunteers.
“Volunteering itself enriches people’s lives by brining people from different backgrounds into a community where they share common interests.”
TFL recently funded ‘The Go Cycle Programme’ in Kingston, installing cycle routes to improve the infrastructure, with the scheme yet to be complete.
The project aims to contribute to developing safer cycleways and encourage people to try out active travel.
Once people have a bike, they can form a cycling community and encourage group rides increasing overall wellbeing and actively helping the environment.
*Images courtesy of Full Cycle*