Sanford Co-operative in Lewisham is at the cutting-edge of energy-efficiency housing, and its bike hub is an integral part its drive to reduce its CO2 emissions by a whopping 60%, leading the way as a national best-practice example for sustainable living.
Promoting cycling to everyone in the co-op, regardless of ability, is seen as a major step towards ethical consumption, and the group were committed to helping everyone get on a bike.
Once the co-op had built a storage area for up to 80 bikes – a stunning creation designed by a resident and made from recycled wooden railway sleepers with a roof garden – they identified a lack of maintenance skills and worries about cycling in traffic as key barriers to cycling.
The Community Cycling Fund for London funded the training of five in-house bike mechanics and two cycling instructors, and provided tools to turn a section of the bike shed into a workshop where free weekly maintenance sessions are held.
Gradually, those who've been trained in maintenance have transferred their skills to the most able, who in turn are helping out the less technically minded, until everyone has a well-maintained bicycle.
Cycle training takes place either informally, or residents can book on to a one-day training course. The long-term aim is for these bike maintenance and recycling skills to permeate out into the local area, not just within the co-op
Two Bikeability-accredited cycling instructors have also been trained to provide free cycle lessons, which can give even the least confident person the skills to be safe and confident cyclists in London.
Over the course of the project the Sanford co-op has seen a dramatic boost in regular cycle journeys among its residents, and cycling is rapidly becoming the transport mode of choice, taking the group closer towards their ultimate goal of slashing their carbon emissions to a level that many UK houses won't reach until 2050.