The power of bikes and one way to get more children cycling to your primary school

Combining bikes, art and computer drawing. Sarah Hammond tells us the story behind ArtSpokes and how it all started with working with the  London Cycling Campaign following a Community Cycling Fund for London grant to get more children cycling.

Like many people, I remember with affection my first bike bought when I was eight years old for five pounds in Portsmouth. Disentangled from a heap of bikes piled to the ceiling, with battered metal mudguards carefully painted red, it gave me freedom, independence and speed.

It was my first taste of the power of bikes.

Enthused by a desire to spread the word across generations and share the pleasures and benefits of cycling, I applied for a grant from the Community Cycling Fund for London in 2011. You can find out more about what we did here.

Inspired by the success of the CCFL Bike Project, I set up ArtSpokes nine months later as a social enterprise. Now, one year on, ArtSpokes’ star project, BEST BIKERS, is being rolled out – it’s aim, to encourage sustainable and healthy living through workshops for primary schools bringing together bikes, art and computer drawing.

In the spirit of the London Cycling Campaign, children taking part in ArtSpokes’ BEST BIKERS workshops learn how to run their own campaign to promote active travel and a healthy life style amongst their peers, teachers and parents by championing cycling. They learn design, digital drawing, teamwork, language skills, public speaking and community engagement. It’s a great way for the children boost their confidence and leadership skills whilst having lots of fun.

With the BEST BIKERS workshop, I wanted to offer a project which has real value for schools, children and the environment on lots of levels. The project has been honed by teachers, children, volunteers and friends and has had lots of input from our School Travel Advisor. We think we’ve got an effective mix now. Feedback from schools and children is very positive.

One teacher said, ‘We have found the ArtSpokes project an extremely worthwhile experience. Sarah’s enthusiasm for the project has made it a very successful process for all the children involved. The Artspokes project has been a gateway to help our children become more aware of bike safety and the importance of health in the community.’ Read more here.

So, if you’re looking for ways to get more pupils cycling to your school, at the same time as meeting your Curriculum targets and the Healthy and Sustainable School criteria, then ArtSpokes can help. We have lots of ideas and can also put you in touch with useful organisations.

Best Bikers workshops can run alongside Bikeability Cycle Training and Cycle Safety and can range from encouraging getting more bums on bikes to helping reduce CO2 emissions around schools. Useful dates for your diary are Walk to School Week (20-24 May 2013), Bike to School Week (10-14 June 2013) and Bike Week (15-23 June 2013).

ArtSpokes, with Waitrose, will be refunding 50% of the cost of a Best Biker workshop to two lucky Tower Hamlets schools. Find out more here.

We want everyone to say YES to the power of bikes and give children today the opportunity to experience the same pleasures and discovery we so fondly remember.

If you’d like to find out more about having a Best Bikers workshop in your school take a look at our Best Bikers flyer and contact Sarah at 


Below are some useful links for schools and parents:

Schools accredited through TfL's STAR scheme may be eligible for CCFL funding so it’s well worth while getting in contact with the LCC Cycling Projects team to check your eligibility. There are quite a few inspiring examples.

Bikeability Cycle Training is cycle proficiency training. There are three levels. To help children stay safe, it’s really important your children have training. You can find lesson plans for teachers to support children learning to ride a bike.

Transport for London has a toolkit for schools including case studies on School Travel Plans. Schools can also sign up for the Star Accreditation scheme.

Sustrans has lots of information about encouraging cycling in schools. It also has a useful page on Bike to School Week.

Your local borough council will have information on their web site. Our borough, Tower Hamlets, has general information here. If you’d like to know more contact John Rymell, School Travel Advisor, 020 7364 6918 or email

Hackney Council has a good page on cycle training for schools. Contact 020 8356 6594 or email

Apple is currently running free computer workshops for Primary and Secondary teachers and children. Registration is open till 31st May.