We have improv weed health and wellbeing, community life, and tackled isolation, inequalities and the climate crisis.
Since our inception in 2014, York Bike Belles has had a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of York residents. We have had particular success in increasing levels of cycling and community volunteering, and bringing people together to build relationships and make connections with the natural world.
We have reduced inequalities by attracting participants from groups usually under-represented in physical activity, especially women, those over 55, and those with low wellbeing. And we have helped improve the mental wellbeing and quality of life of York’s elder community through our Cycling Without Age Rides.
On our Cake Confidence start cycling scheme, 91% of participants were women, 60% were aged over 55 and 54% expressed a mental or physical health concern. On Cycling Without Age Rides, all passengers were aged between 75 and 104, all with restricted mobility, and many with multiple long-term disabilities.
We have successfully engaged the York community
Over the last 3 years (2017 – 2020), we worked with 128 community volunteers to deliver 758 walking and cycling-related activities, with 4802 participants. There were over 60,000 engagements on our popular Facebook page.
Just before lockdown in March 2020, we were delivering over 20 free activities a month, with a team of 30 trained volunteers.
We have been effective
In 2019, 75% of all respondents to an open survey said contact with us encouraged them to increase their cycling levels; 70% of respondents said they made new friends and felt more part of the York community, and 52% felt more connected to nature. 92% of Cake Confidence participants said they started cycling after support from us. 100% of Cycling Without Age Ride passengers said they felt “much happier” after a Ride 😊.
We have made a real difference to people’s lives
“You have changed my life, Bike Belles” (Rose, Cake Confidence participant, 2019)
“It’s my freedom!” (Joyce, Cycling Without Age Ride passenger, 2019)
“Cycling has helped me lose weight, get fitter and it’s also great for mental health” (Simon, Cycling Without Age Volunteer, 2019)
You can read many Stories of Change from the people we have worked with in the Stories section of this site.
We have created new programmes
Over the last 3 years, we created 11 new walking and cycling programmes in York. This includes Cake Confidence, York’s Walk Cycle Festivals, award-winning Travel with Tots, Social Rides, the Illuminate Your Bike Ride, cheese and wine Bike Maintenance workshops, the Walking Book Group, Nature Nearby Walks and Rides, Nature Time Routes, Take the Green Route! and Cycling Without Age Rides.
We have improved public spaces
We helped improve 8 York public and green spaces, with 5 Greenway Murals on routes across the city, a trial on-street parklet on Micklegate and grass Labyrinths in the Museum Gardens and Rowntree Park.
We have made a big difference to women’s lives in particular.
We originally set up in 2014 as a cycling community for women, to enable more women to discover the joys of a cycling lifestyle. We have since expanded our work, but let’s not to forget the inspiring video from that time – 3 women, 3 bikes, 3 months. Check it out!
Finally, we rely on donations and grants to fund our activities, which are offered free of charge to York residents. If you are able to support us, please do consider a donation. You can donate here.
York Bike Belles is an award-winning charitable organisation, incorporated as a not for profit Community Interest Company. Walk and cycle with us into a healthy, green and kind future!