Freedom of Movement
The Freedom of Movement project is linked with the Women’s Workshop Session, which runs on Monday nights, and Bristol Refugee Rights.
We started this project when we realised that several women had come to us from the Refugee/Asylum-Seeker Welcome Centre who were interested in cycling, but had never ridden a bike before. We therefore wanted to create a space where they felt they could come to learn more about bicycles and take up cycling. We work together to learn about the various barriers to cycling, and about cycling in different cultures and want to continue to build a cycling community that empowers women from all backgrounds to enjoy the bicycle and the independence that it brings!
The project has been running for 6 months and in that time:
- several of the volunteers from the project have been trained as Cycling Instructors.
- almost a dozen women have learned how to ride a bike, and three of them received on-road cycle training.
- during the Women’s Workshop Sessions, we refurbished training bicycles, and bicycles for participants
- we delivered a workshop on the cultural barriers to cycling in a national conference for radical community bike projects.
- we worked with young people to fix their bikes, and refurbished bikes for participants’ children.
- we organised the first group ride for participants.
Women involved in the project have said that learning to ride a bicycle makes them fit, that it’s a nice way to spend time with their children, and that it also builds their confidence and independence. Many of their husbands have also earned bicycles from the Bike Project’s Earn-a-Bike scheme, and they also want to learn to ride so they can join them! Most participants are keen to use their bikes for shopping, transporting their children and travelling to work, or to the Welcome Centre where we meet.