Pedalling to Possibility

In early 2012,  Louis Devenish, a student from Bristol University, who had previously volunteered at the project, wrote his BSc dissertation about the project. ‘Pedalling to Possibility’ set out to assess the impact that the project has on its project-users lives.  More precisely it evaluates how the bicycle and the process by which it is acquired, impact on the social inclusion and wellbeing of project-users.  It found that they have greater autonomy of movement, can access more day-to-day services and activities and can better maintain their friend networks.  They noted an improvement in their physical and psychological health. In addition, the workshop acts as an important space of empowerment and social interaction. Here is an extract:

In the simplest terms BBP gives service users a bicycle. The bicycle provides users with an autonomy of mobility whereby they regain an independence and a flexibility in their mobility patterns. This is important for users because it restores a sense of control in their own destiny. Having a dependable, affordable mode of transport opens up a whole host of activities to service users. They can now participate in voluntary work, education programs and frequently attend recovery meetings as well as more easily maintain social networks and partake in leisure activities. Moreover, ‘their’ city effectively grows as the impediments of distance and time are reduced. Finally, service users’ health improves a result of doing regular exercise. Many have got fitter or lost weight, whilst two had even seen chronic knee injuries healed. Psychologically, service users feel a greater sense of freedom and riding the bicycle offers a space of reflection.

It makes for very interesting reading and you can download it as a pdf here.