Search

Social enterprise Bikeworks to ‘go back to its roots’ after leaving Bethnal Green home

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 August 2018

Emily Esche and Jim Blakemore outside their new velodrome home, which they believe will enable them to increase their services. Picture: Ken Mears

Emily Esche and Jim Blakemore outside their new velodrome home, which they believe will enable them to increase their services. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

A social enterprise cycling group has moved from Bethnal Green to Stratford after its headquarters were earmarked for redevelopment.

Emily Esche, the head of business development,  working on a bike in the maintenance room. Picture: Ken MearsEmily Esche, the head of business development, working on a bike in the maintenance room. Picture: Ken Mears

Bikeworks, which was based in Cambridge Heath Road for seven years, moved into the Olympic Park’s velodrome on August 1.

Before the move, the site experienced four break-ins in six weeks.

“We’ve known since last year that our old home was going to be redeveloped, so we had to move,” CEO Jim Blakemore, 44, said.

“We’ve always had a desire to run something in the Olympic Park. This is an iconic venue and it’s an opportunity to grow.

Founder and CEO Jim Blakemore fixing a donated bike which is used during the all ability sessions. Picture: Ken MearsFounder and CEO Jim Blakemore fixing a donated bike which is used during the all ability sessions. Picture: Ken Mears

“Everything we do is about reaching out to people who need our help, like those with a disability or social barrier. Here we have people already into cycling, but our main aim is to inspire people into cycling, and this venue can help that.”

Bikeworks has been running for 12 years, expanding from its original base in Wormwood Scrubs to three sites in Victoria Park, Wormwood Scrubs, and the VeloPark. The enterprise also has a mobile van, which goes to day centres and schools to run activities.

Programmes include maintenance sessions and all ability cycling courses, aimed at making cycling accessible to everyone.

“Our main aim with Bikeworks is inclusivity,” head of business development, Emily Esche, 33, said.

Founder and CEO Jim Blackmore with Emily Esche at Bikeworks' new home in the Lee Valley VeloPark. Picture: Ken MearsFounder and CEO Jim Blackmore with Emily Esche at Bikeworks' new home in the Lee Valley VeloPark. Picture: Ken Mears

“We’re not trying to force people to become cyclists. But we want people, who feel like sporting activities aren’t for them, to feel like they can try cycling.”

The group has around 150 bikes, including tricycles, wheelchair platform bikes and a side-by-side bike, which is used by people with disabilities. During one of the recent break-ins, part of the side-by-side bike was stolen.

“We had already decided to move when the break-ins happened,” Jim said.

“But it was just a sad taint to the end of our time there.”

While the new space won’t have a shopfront, like their Cambridge Heath Road site, Jim said the move is a positive step for Bikeworks.

“Here we can go back to our roots,” he said.

“I started Bikeworks to address social problems like worklessness, and lack of access to facilities.

“We can do that across Hackney, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Newham now, because we’re more centrally based.”

A smaller Bikeworks shop is also being opened in a different location on Cambridge Heath Road.

Latest East London News Stories

22 minutes ago

Longer weekday late evening trains are being put on the Fenchurch Street network through east London and Essex to help Christmas shoppers and partygoers get back home.

12:59

Schoolchildren have planted a cherry tree in Limehouse to create the East End’s first ‘school’ Street to play in safe from traffic.

09:02

Top comedian Norman Pace was back this week entertaining pensioners with his Christmas knees-up which could become an annual East End festive beano.

A naked investigator was offered a “happy ending” at a Aldgate spa as the theme tune from the movie Titanic played on repeat.

Yesterday, 19:00

A violinist hopes to raise £15,000 to transform an old double-decker bus into a mobile music school.

Yesterday, 19:00

Volunteers are out every evening in Shadwell guiding people through the blacked out St George’s Gardens in their campaign for public lighting to keep people safe in the dark.

Yesterday, 17:18

Our reporter Liam Coleman met with the big man before a hectic few weeks.

Yesterday, 15:41

Police investigating the death of a refugee who drowned in the Thames have released his picture in a bid to trace his next of kin.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now