Sarah Morpurgo

Sarah Morpurgo runs The Bike Project and was awarded one of LCC's Community Cycling Fund for London grants.

About Sarah ....

I really love cycling, but I'm not a bike nerd. I don't remember my first bike, or learning to cycle especially. If anything, you'd think growing up in Crouch End would put me off cycling for life, hills and all! But a good pal of mine is from a cycling family and I think it was him that got me into it. Again, I didn't plan to work with bikes. I actually trained as a classical flautist, then got really involved with a migrant support charity, and now work at The Bike Project with refugees and bikes, and I really love it. Music is still a big part of my life though; I play in Kensington Chamber Orchestra amongst other things, and take great responsibility for the playlist at our bike workshop! I think I might be turning into a bit of a bike nerd after all... 

What does space for cycling mean to me? 

I first think of 'space for cycling' as a physical issue; us London cyclists brushing sides with buses and all that. I went to a small town just outside of Mannheim on an exchange when I was 16, and I remember being so impressed by their cool network of cycle lanes. That's what we need! (For the record, I'm backing Norman Foster's lanes in the sky.)

But more widely, space for cycling for me is having more space for cycling in our lives. It's such a healthy, sociable and efficient way of getting around, enjoying the outdoors, meeting other people and saving money on stuffy tubes. I honestly don't really get why more people aren't into it.

How did you become involved with LCC?

I work for a small charity called The Bike Project, where we refurbish second-hand bikes and donate them to destitute refugees. On our mission to get as many refugees enjoying the emotional, physical and economic benefits of cycling as possible, we've noticed an absence of women. LCC has very kindly given us a CCFL grant to fund a new programme where we will now be offering cycle training for refugee women new to cycling. Having done my instructor training, I'm looking forward to getting out in the park and getting these ladies whizzing round in no time!

What will you never forget about riding a bike?

I'm going to go for a category shortlist of favourites!

Longest: I did London to Brighton. In the pouring rain. With two gears. By myself (because my mates bottled it) but it was wicked! There's some beautiful villages you cruise through en route.

Biggest: Critical mass on the last Friday of the month is super fun. There's no other way you can cycle round Waterloo roundabout not worrying about traffic, singing at the top of your voice, in the company of hundreds of other cyclists! It's a great feeling tearing through London in a big, old, throng of giggling excitement and security - its so good.

Furthest from home: My friend and I rented bikes whilst we were travelling in India. It was such a good way to explore, without having to take on a motorbike. I've got two favourite cycles from the trip – one where we got bikes in Udaipur and went investigating around all the surrounding villages, meeting families, and getting beetroot red in the face under the heat! Small confession – having pushed our bikes half-way up the steepest hill of all time leading up to a Monsoon Palace at its peak, we did actually ditch our bikes in a bush in favour of some motorbike lifts! But we collected them on the way down - promise. The second was down in Kochi in the south where we boarded a boat with bikes, and then cycled the full perimeter of a nearby island, finding some beautiful remote beaches to swim on. Thoroughly recommended!

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