Our organisation

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Welcome to our friendly community!

York Bike Belles is an independent, volunteer-led community organisation that inspires, encourages and enables people of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle everyday as the natural way to get around, while improving well-being, community life and spaces and nature, for the future of the world.

Our impact so far

Since 2014, York Bike Belles has directly engaged with many thousands of people in York. Between April 2018 and March 2019, we delivered 229 activities to 2004 participants, with over 10,000 engagements on our popular Facebook page. Our youngest participant was 12 weeks old, and our oldest 100!

In a 2018 survey, 75% of respondents said contact with us encouraged them to increase their cycling levels. In a 2019 survey, 92% of cake confidence participants said they started cycling or cycled more often after support from us. And over Spring 2019, 100% of passengers on our cycling without age rides said they felt “much happier” after the ride 😊.

You can read some stories of change from the people we have worked with at: https://yorkbikebelles.community/stories/

We have created many new activity programmes in York, such as Cake Confidence, York’s Walk Cycle Festival, award-winning Travel with Tots, Social Rides, cheese and wine Bike Maintenance, the Walking Book Group, and Cycling Without Age Rides. And we have very much enjoyed helping improve York public spaces with murals on greenway routes across the city, a trial on-street parklet on Micklegate and a grass labyrinth in Rowntree Park.

Our activities

We offer an integrated programme of regular cycling and walking activities and communications, all year round. You can enter the programme at any point by engaging with us online or joining an activity. You can move from one activity to another as suits you, and can steadily increase your confidence, knowledge and skills to enjoy walking and cycling more!

All our current activities are at https://yorkbikebelles.community/events/. Activities for the next month are posted on the home page, with usually also a Facebook event at least a week before the activity.

We run popular community social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Most days, we share local, national and international news, stories and ‘moments’ around a walking and cycling culture and lifestyle, including well-being, community life, one planet living, cities for people, car-lite living, outdoor life, nature, trees, green routes and spaces and more! We welcome online contact, and love interaction and sharing from others.

Our work and activities are underpinned by the values of independence, respect and equality, compassion, inclusion, positive action, cooperation and resilience.

Sustainability is at the heart of what we do. The team walk or cycle during the course of their work, and we source local suppliers, contractors and products with sustainable principles if at all possible.

Our organisation

We are led by a management committee of local volunteers from all walks of life – women and men passionate about increasing everyday walking and cycling in York. We have committed to continue our most popular activities free of charge to the local community as long as we can. We meet as a group every 2 months.

We have a core delivery team of 3 paid staff and 19 active volunteers, who are all trained where necessary in ride and walk leading, bike mechanics, first aid, communication/ engagement methods and safeguarding. We pride ourselves in making all our activities safe, sociable, supportive, of excellent quality and, above all, fun!

We reach out to people in groupings currently under-represented in walking and cycling, including women and girls, parents with young children, elderly folk, those with low well-being and those on lower incomes. We focus on supporting people into walking and cycling for independent transport and ultimately going car-lite, or perhaps car-free. Our work is based on what is needed in the York community, and is dynamic, developing in response to requests, 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 the natural world and promote, protect and enhance nature as an integral part of our practice. As part of our work, we explore ways to improve York’s public spaces so they are better spaces for people walking and cycling, with less traffic and more trees, plants, wildlife and overall biodiversity.

We work strategically across the city to make York a better place for walking and cycling. We are a well-connected part of York’s community network, working cooperatively with multiple partners. We work in particular to encourage an inclusive approach to city mobility and to keep walking and cycling routes safe, accessible, and constantly being improved, with constructive advocacy where necessary. Our chair has over 15 years experience as a sustainable transport and behaviour change professional and 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. We are also a member of the leadership team for the city-wide One Planet York network.

We are most grateful to current funding from the Community Fund, Sport England and the Access Fund, through City of York’s i-Travel York programme (latter is until March 2020). We are a not-for-profit organisation.

National recognition

In 2016, York Bike Belles #travelwithtots work won a national award for Excellence in Cycling from Modeshift.

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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 a “Guardian of the Future – passionate people and projects making a real difference to the global climate”.

Volunteers!

We are always looking for volunteers to help with our work, whether walk and ride leading, Cycling Without Age rides, Cake Confidence or on the Management Committee.. Check out www.yorkbikebelles.community/join-the-team for more info and email yorkbikebelles@gmail.com if you would like to become part of our friendly team.