About our organisation
York Bike Belles is an award-winning charitable organisation. We work towards a vision of York as a healthy, green and kind city, where everyone thrives, now and in a sustainable future.
Our work is transformational. We enable residents of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle as the natural way to get around York, while ALSO improving well-being, community life, green spaces, and tackling inequalities and the climate and nature crises.
We incorporated as a not for profit Community Interest Company (CIC) on 18 February 2020, Company Number 12470154. Our Registered Office address is Trafalgar Street, York, YO23 1HZ. All our Community Interest Company information is filed online at Companies House. Important documents include the Constitution and Community Interest Benefit Statement. Do have a read of our CIC Annual Report 20/21.
York Bike Belles CIC is led by a Board of 6 Directors. The Directors are local volunteers from all walks of life, passionate about increasing everyday walking and cycling in York. We have developed a York Bike Belles CIC Five Year Strategy 2020 – 2025, reviewed in June 2021.
We currently (December 2021) have a core delivery team of 3 paid staff and 21 active community volunteers. We offer an annual Media and Communications Internship through York St John University. The team are all thoroughly trained to carry out their roles competently, including training where necessary in cycle training, ride and walk leading, bike mechanics, first aid, safeguarding, engagement methods, digital skills and Nature Connectedness. We pride ourselves in making all our activities safe, professional, inclusive, supportive, friendly and fun! Have a look at our latest Health and Safety, Privacy and Safeguarding Policies.
Our work and activities are underpinned by our organisational values – we are effective, we respond to need, we are kind, inclusive, cooperative, independent, creative, we innovate, we make positive change happen and we leave a sustainable legacy.
Our activities are offered free of charge to York residents. We rely on donations, grants and sponsorship to fund our work. We are grateful to funding this year from Sport England to deliver Cake Confidence until July 2021 and to local donors Feoffees of St Michael’s Spurriergate and Skiweb Ltd to deliver Cycling Without Age until January 2022. If you are able to support us, please donate here.
About our activity programme
We offer an integrated programme of regular cycling, walking and nature activities, communications and volunteer training and support, all year round. Participants can enter the programme at any point by engaging with us online or joining an activity, and move from one activity to another as suits. The process steadily increases participants’ confidence, knowledge and skills to enjoy walking and cycling, the natural world, and an active, outdoor, sociable lifestyle.
Activities for the next month are posted on the home page, with usually also a Eventbrite event at least a week before the activity. From May 2021, you need to book a place on most activities in advance, either by emailing us or booking online via any Eventbrite link.
More about our work
There are significant inequalities in our area of work. We tackle these inequalities by reaching out to and prioritising work with people in groupings who are often under-represented in walking, cycling, physical activity and having access to nature, and can be marginalised. This includes women and girls, older people (over 55), the elder community (over 80), those with low wellbeing, health conditions, disabilities, young people (18 – 25), people on lower incomes, LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/ Questioning +) and BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, Refugee) groups. We are developing more work in particular with young people from 2021. Have a look at our latest Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
We focus on supporting people into local, everyday walking and cycling for independent transport, and reducing car use. Our work is based on what is needed in the York community and society as a whole. It is dynamic, developing in response to feedback and what is happening in our community and the wider world.
We continually look for opportunities to be creative and innovative. We connect people with nature and promote, protect and enhance nature as an integral part of our practice. We explore ways to improve York’s public spaces and routes so they are better places for people who walk and cycle, with less traffic, and more trees, plants, and wildlife.
We aim to leave a sustainable legacy from all our work. Examples include creating long-term walking and cycling buddy schemes, developing open online learning courses and producing creative and accessible online resources, such as routes, maps, galleries, videos and audio trails.
We work strategically across the city and are embedded in York’s community network, working cooperatively with multiple partners. We currently (December 2021) deliver activities in partnership with Cycle Heaven, York St John University, Chocolate Works Care Village, The Lodge Care Home, The Oaks Care Home, MySight York and St Nick’s Nature Reserve and Environment Centre.
We advocate for better infrastructure – more city space for walking and cycling, an inclusive approach to city mobility, and to keep York’s walking and cycling paths and linked green spaces safe, accessible, convenient and constantly being improved. Our priorities are to improve walking and cycling routes for safety, accessibility and biodiversity. We support the Wheels for Wellbeing Guide to Inclusive Cycling.
Our Programme Manager has over 18 years experience as a sustainable transport and behaviour change professional. She facilitated York’s independent Walk Cycle Forum between 2017 and 2019. We support the collective Walk Cycle Vision for York that emerged from this Forum. Our community volunteering work forms part of York’s international Cities of Service Coalition.
Sustainability is at the heart of what we do. We prioritise work that tackles the climate and nature emergencies. We ensure our work has as low an environmental impact as possible, and enhances the natural world. All our team walk or cycle during the course of their work. We ask participants to take sustainable transport to our activities if they can. We source local suppliers, contractors and products with sustainable principles, which means we also invest into our local community. We carry out sustainable office practices. We are a member of One Planet York, a collaborative movement of organisations and individuals working towards a sustainable York. Have a look at our latest Environmental Sustainability Policy.
We make all our communications, activities, services and resources as accessible as possible to people of all ages, abilities and life situations, with particular consideration of the needs stated by our priority groups. Examples include our sociable buddy support and child-carrying bike equipment loans; our comprehensive, tailored support into cycling for those with health conditions through Cake Confidence; our assisted Cycling Without Age Rides in a rickshaw for elders; our sensory Nature Walks; and our offer of website, online and other printed information in alternative formats for those with disabilities. We also provide clear accessibility information in any promotion of our activities.
Do let us know if you would like any of this website, online or other printed information in Easy Read, large print or audio, or if you’d like someone to talk anything through with you. If you have any feedback about accessibility and how we can improve, please email email@example.com.
“We recognise York Bike Belles as an outstanding charity in the city”, Joe Micheli, Head of Communities, City of York Council, December 2021.
In 2016, York Bike Belles #travelwithtots work won a national award for Excellence in Cycling from Modeshift.
In 2017, we featured as a “Story for Change” in the ground-breaking 2017 Zero Carbon Britain report.
In 2018, we gave a presentation in the House of Commons to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) about good practice in women and cycling.
In 2019, we were chosen to feature as a good practice project in Public Health England’s case study for York (part of the “Everybody Active Every Day” framework). And we featured in a summer 2019 exhibit at the Eden Project as an example of a “Guardian of the Future – passionate people and projects making a real difference to the global climate”.
In 2020, we were awarded funding by Sport England to continue and develop our popular Cake Confidence scheme for those with health concerns.
In 2021, we received support from the regional Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership (Green Social Prescribing Programme) who said: “York Bike Belles CIC have been a stand out organisation for us as they uniquely intertwine the active sector (through cycling) with connecting to the outdoors and nature”. Sport England’s Head of Development called the Cake Confidence start cycling scheme “amazing”.
We are always looking for community volunteers to help with our work, whether as a walk or ride leader, a Pedaller for Cycling Without Age rides, or a bike buddy on the Cake Confidence start cycling scheme.
We look forward to working with you. Walk and cycle with us into a healthy, green and kind future!