Partner Case Study: Life Cycle
Life Cycle's Cycle Buddies scheme

Life Cycle - Cycle Buddies


About the project

Life Cycle UK piloted a free "Cycle Buddy" scheme which paired new or returning cyclists with confident older cyclists in their local neighbourhoods in Hengrove, Knowle West, St Anne's, Montpelier, St Werburghs, St Paul's and Bedminster. It was designed for people aged 55 + who wanted to start cycling again, but weren't sure how to start. The scheme offered support with practicalities such as where to get a bike or cycling on roads, and offered cycle buddies to support people with local knowledge and cycle paths. 

The scheme offered a friendly network of community cycle buddies, who offered to help older people in their local neighbourhood to re-start cycling. Buddies were able to:

  • Help with borrowing a bike - or locating a cheap refurbished one
  • Help participants to gain the confidence to cycle on the roads
  • Introduce participants to quiet local cycle routes
  • Allow participants to meet other likeminded people in their area


A participant's story

"I stopped cycling about 25 years ago. I was starting to develop arthritis in both knees and getting quite a lot of pain going up hills.

"The bike I have now got is electric. I bought the bike in a bike shop and was too scared to ride it home, I had to go back in when the traffic had died down.

"When I found out about the Buddy Scheme, I was overjoyed!  I don't drive and although I had cycle maps, I didn't have the confidence to find routes on my own.

"My cycling buddy is amazing. She is a fantastic teacher, brilliant at instilling confidence and knowledge and such good fun. The brilliant thing about cycling is you don't have to talk incessantly but can drift in and out of conversation as you ride.

"It's been great seeing the city I’ve lived in for 60 years from another side, like Alice through the Looking Glass! The things you see....the giant hogweed down by the canal, graffiti artists in the subways, families having picnics in the sunshine, the fantastic diversity of our city. Learning the routes is important. If we lose our sense of direction other things go too…I can feel my neural pathways expanding!

"Getting cycling again has definitely open doors for me on many levels. I feel fitter and have an increased sense of wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

"This project has made a real impact on my life. I know I can get to places. I can easily get to my two kids houses when needed and don't have to rely on lifts or taxis.  This is a major improvement.

"I now have much more confidence to ride the bike to visit family and friends. I go on bike rides alone and in groups and just enjoy seeing Bristol. It's very empowering all round.

"It's inspired me to get on with other things in my life that I have had to put on hold over the past 15 years.

"It's given me a new lease of life!" - Julia, 62

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