Cycling programme set to improve wellbeing in east London

Jim Blakemore and Emily Esche standing with a bicycle at Bikeworks in the Lee Valley VeloPark.

Bikeworks chief executive Jim Blakemore. - Credit: Ken Mears

A free cycling programme to help people in Newham and Tower Hamlets improve their physical and mental health is set to begin.

Social enterprise Bikeworks, based at Lee Valley VeloPark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP), has developed the "cycling for wellbeing" programme for adults living in the four surrounding boroughs.

It’s a mutual aid support group encouraging people - particularly those experiencing health inequalities - to form sociable networks, incorporate regular physical activity into their lives and learn new skills.

The four-week, eight-session programme, which is inspired by the NHS' “5 steps to mental wellbeing” guidance, will run from February 25 until the summer.

Bikeworks chief executive Jim Blakemore said: “London has the potential to become the world’s healthiest global city, which is why it’s imperative that all Londoners - especially those experiencing social and health issues such as loneliness, anxiety and mild mental health - have the best opportunities to live a long life in good health despite of who they are, or where they live.


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“So many, especially those in living in east London, struggle with poor physical and mental health, which can impact on their ability to cope with life’s challenges and how they interact as part of a family, community and working life.”

As a recognised exercise group, the programme is one of few Covid-safe, in-person activities allowed during lockdown restrictions.

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People can start the programme at either QEOP or Victoria Park and also experience the surrounding green, traffic-free areas.

Bikeworks says the programme builds cycling skills and confidence in accordance with the national standard for cycle training and is designed to improve fitness in line with NHS recommendations on healthy levels of exercise.

Participants will also have the opportunity to volunteer through longer rides to nearby community organisations and outdoor places of interest, and on Bikeworks’ own programmes.

After completing the cycling for wellbeing programme, people can join “challenge rides”, which take place every two weeks.

Visit www.bikeworks.org.uk/cyclingforwellbeing for more information.

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