This is Y Magazine 2020

Page 117


LIFE CHANGING Bike Libraries are transforming lives across the county and giving hope to thousands. One volunteer describes how working with the project has changed his life. Driving through Cottingham, East Yorkshire this strikes you as a typical English village. A beautiful church, a bustling high street, quaint village pubs. But what is not such a typical site appears to be the amount of bicycles all around Cottingham. R-evolution is the answer to where you’ll find all these bikes. A charity local to the East Riding of Yorkshire since 2015, they opened their first Bike Library in the same year and to date, have opened 21 across East Yorkshire in partnership with East Riding Council. Each Library provides bicycles to children who don’t have access to their own. They also cater for adults, where bicycles enable them to be out and about in the community. The Cottingham HQ is also where the main training workshop is based. Their aim is to get as many unused bikes back into the community to increase safe cycling, social inclusion and exercise. Through public training courses, R-evolution also teach people how to fix their own bikes, whilst offering servicing for larger repairs. Each year, they refurbish over 1,500 bikes carried out by a fully qualified team of mechanics and volunteers. One such volunteer is Neil who has been with R-evolution for over a year. “I didn’t realise I had mental health problems until three years ago, when I had a major breakdown. Since then I was struggling, having a lack of concentration, motivation and taking antidepressants. Finding a scheme like the Bike Libraries is brilliant. It just gives you the impetus to get up and to get going. Finding the motivation with a charity like R-evolution has been fantastic.” John Marshall MBE, CEO of R-evolution started the charity to help people just like Neil. “Our initial aim was to help people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into work, to learn about employment and help people build their self-esteem. I am very proud of what the staff, volunteers and trainees are achieving here in partnership with the Bike Libraries. We are helping to change people’s lives for the better in so many ways, from a small child in school learning to ride their bike safely, to providing purpose and better futures for our trainees in the workshops.” For Neil, finding the Bike Libraries stand at 2017’s Tour de Yorkshire has had a major impact on his life. “Absolutely fantastic! If I hadn’t found it, I would probably be sitting at home in a very dark place. This has given me my life back.”

AT A G L A N C E What? Simply a location with a fleet of bikes that are available for loan to children and families. There are 61 Bike Libraries across Yorkshire and over 6,000 bikes have been donated so far. Can anyone borrow one? Yes. Just find your local bike library (see the link below) and get in touch. The libraries often arrange activities such as guided bike rides, basic bike skills and maintenance courses. Or you can just have the freedom to ride on a safe route, where you want, with family and friends. Where can I donate a bike? Donation stations are popping up around Yorkshire all the time for full details of your local drop-off point see the website below. If you can’t see a local donation station near you, keep checking more are added all the time as the scheme develops. To donate a bike, borrow a bike, start a bike library or become a volunteer visit

Top to bottom: Neil is now a fully trained volunteer bike mechanic. Lizzie Deignan supports the project. Launch of the new R-evolution site in Cottingham. Training at the new Cottingham HQ.

For more information on where you can find your local Bike Library go to