LCC award winners New City Cycling Club

An inspiring school project run by teacher Liz Bowgett and the New City Primary School

The New City Primary School in Newham, East London have been running a cycling club for pupils and parents for over 4 years. In recognition of their outstanding success, in October 2005 the club was awarded the LCC’s London Cycling Award for Best Cycling Initiative for Young People or Children.

Cycle Training for Parents and Children

The club aims to offer all pupils cycle training and runs regular rides. Parents are encouraged to participate and can also take part in adult cycle training sessions.The club is run by teacher Liz Bowgett, who has now qualified as a cycle instructor along with one of the school’s special needs assistants. Thanks to the commitment of the head teacher, plenty of storage space has been allocated and permission granted to run the twice-weekly cycle training sessions as part of the schools activities.

Overcoming Barriers

Regular rides explore the local area with particular favourites using the Greenway cycle track over to Victoria Park in Hackney and up to the Thames Barrier. A problem that was identified early on was how to enable and encourage pupils and parents without bikes to take part in the club. Inspiring initiatives have included recycling any bikes they could get their hands on, from collecting them from skips and the local dump through to setting up a regular donation from the local police. The repairs and reconditioning of the second-hand bikes is often done with the assistance of older children and teenagers who were previously at the school.

Cycle London Promotion Partnership Funding

Last year, funding from the Cycle London Promotion Partnership was used to buy more bikes: adult models to involve and offer cycle training to more parents and ‘tag-alongs’ and baby seats to encourage parents with small children to participate in the rides. Bikes are loaned to all family members of children and staff in the school and access to the bikes is available at all times (including evenings and weekends) with storage space also for families to store bikes they have no room for at home.

Furthermore an exchange scheme is in place - when children outgrow their bikes they can trade it in and get the next size up.

Success: 150 Bikes and 60 Regular Cyclists

The club has grown in popularity year by year. An average of 60 children cycle to school every day and a pool of 150 bikes is available for use by pupils, older siblings, parents and staff. SureStart funding starting this year will enable training to be extended to under-5s and their parents.