All the fun of the Dulwich Festival Fair

What’s summer in Blighty without a good old Fair? Come and join us at The Dulwich Festival Fair on Sunday 8th May. There’ll be food, live music and loads of entertainment for families.

The Bike Project will be there, with secondhand kids’ bikes for sale with all proceeds going back into The Bike Project. And you can bring your bikes along for a diagnosis from our expert mechanics in our Dr Bike session. They’ll be around to give advice, answer questions and inspire follicular envy.


The Dulwich Festival Fair


Sunday 8th May 11am-4pm


On Goose Green in East Dulwich


Just turn up – there’ll be plenty of food, drinks, fun and games for you once you arrive.


Silla: A Volunteer’s story

Silla and Jem

Silla with Jem, The Bike Project founder. Photo by James Sharrock.

Silla is an amazing bloke. A skilled carpenter, he can build a house from the floor up. A brilliant storyteller, he can tell a tale in four different languages. And since he began volunteering with The Bike Drop three years ago, he can fix any bike up, too.  This is his story.

“I heard about The Bike Drop from The Red Cross. When I went for the first time, I found it very helpful. I couldn’t afford transport when I was studying.”

With only £36 a week to live on and prohibited from working, not being able to afford transport is the norm for asylum seekers. It makes a bike essential.

“There weren’t enough bikes the first time I went, but I was told if I kept coming to the drop in sessions to help, I could find the bike of my dreams. One day I got lucky. I got a bike, and then I kept coming as a volunteer.

I find it so exciting the way The Bike Project have been helping refugees and asylum seekers. As an asylum seeker, if someone doesn’t know you, they don’t talk to you. Volunteering here is the place to forget that, to meet people and have a little laugh.

You make friendships here. I don’t see everyone at The Bike Project as friends, they’re family.

We still need volunteers to fix bikes and help. You’ll learn something new and make new friends.”


We’d love for you to join Silla and the rest of us every Thursday from 4:45 – 8pm at 12 Crossthwaite Avenue, Denmark Hill, SE5 8ET. You can help fix up bikes, match helmets and bike lights to people, or just be a friendly face to greet everyone. If you’re interested or have any questions, please get in touch here.

Ridgeback bike

Stu’s Top 5 Tips for Buying a Second Hand Bike

Stu is one of our bike wizards. He’s worked with bikes for over ten years now, so he really knows his stuff when it comes to buying a second hand one. Have a look at his top 5 tips below to make sure you avoid the rust buckets and get something great.

Of course the easiest way to avoid being sold a dud is by buying your bike through the Bike Project Shop. All our second hand bikes have been fixed up to tip top condition by Stu and our other mechanics, and 100% of the proceeds go towards keeping the Bike Project running.


1) First things first

Check the frame and wheels first. If you can see cracks or lots of rust on the frame, that’s a big warning sign and it’s probably not worth it. Give the wheels a spin. A little bit of a wobble is fine, but they shouldn’t be rubbing the brake pads.

2) Chain reaction

One of the most expensive parts to replace is the drive chain and sprockets. Check these are in good nick by touching the teeth on the sprockets. If they feel sharp, or they have a shark fin profile, it means the chain has worn out.

3) False alarms

Bike a bit grubby? Rusty cabling? Make sure you’re not missing out on a diamond in the rough by dismissing things that can be easily fixed. Seats, handlebar grips, brake pads and cabling are all easily replaceable, and a bit of mud or oil is nothing an old rag can’t fix.

4) Ask questions

You’ll learn a lot from the seller. When was the bike last serviced? How old is it? Was it used as a communal bike? This last one is a big red flag – if a house full of people have been using it, it’s probably not worth buying now.

5) Is it registered?

Check if the bike is already owned by someone by going to the bike register website. Look under the bike frame to find a framed code and type it in at the website. If it’s reported lost or stolen, it’ll say.

To check the person selling you the bike is the registered owner, ask them to log into their account there and then to show you their registration. Remember to then ask them to transfer the registration to you, as you can’t register the same bike twice.


Bonus tip:

Come to the workshop to volunteer. The best way to learn how to look after your bike is to learn to fix up our donated ones.

Find all of our second hand bikes for sale in the Bike Project Shop.

Ahmad with bike

Riding on a smile: a Syrian refugee and his bike

Riding on a smile: a Syrian refugee and his bike

Ahmad, a Syrian refugee, with his bike

Ahmad, a Syrian refugee, with his bike


Getting around London is expensive for everyone, let alone for a refugee living on the weekly government asylum allowance of £36.95. A London travelcard (zones 1 and 2) costs £32.10 a week.

Whilst seeking asylum, it is vital that people are able to access essential legal, medical and other support services around London, on top of paying for food and other necessities.

It’s a lot to cover with just £36.95.

This is Ahmad’s story.

Ahmad is 33 years old, and came to London a year ago after fleeing violence and persecution in his homeland, Syria. This is a plight sadly shared by over 8,000,000 Syrians since 2011.

When Ahmad arrived in London, he was a stranger in an unfamiliar city, and had no one to turn to for help and support.

For Ahmad, getting to and from important places, such as the supermarket and the doctors was a huge challenge on his meagre budget of £36.95 a week.

One evening, Ahmad attended a community support meeting and was told about The Bike Project. Given his first impressions of London, he was intrigued to hear that someone he’d never met would give him a bike for free.

After looking up The Bike Project online, he headed down to the workshop in Denmark Hill where he was greeted by ‘happy, smiling people’.

A couple of hours later, Ahmad rode away on his new bike, setting himself the rather bold target of navigating his way back to north London.

Thinking back, Ahmad tells me: ‘I felt welcome; welcome and accepted.’

From the moment his foot touched the pedal, Ahmad felt like a new man. He loved the freedom and experience of cycling around London. Importantly, Ahmad now spends the money he saves on transport, on food and other necessities.

Having a bike has given him the opportunity to experience this unique city in a personal way, instead of spending his precious allowance on transport.

Ahmad now rides up to 30 miles a day and knows London better than most of its inhabitants. He has friends in Finsbury Park, Portobello Road and Kentish Town and can now visit them regularly – he’s fit as a fiddle.

He’s also been back to The Bike Project to service his bike and to volunteer his services, helping other refugees to get a bike.

It is clear in Ahmad’s voice that having a bike has made a real difference to his life – as he himself gleefully exclaims before we say goodbye:

“I LOVE my bike!”



3 ways you can support The Bike Project and help other refugees like Ahmad:

Visit the Bike Shop

Sponsor a bike

Donate an old bike

All donations and money made from selling refurbished bikes go back into funding the Bike Project and helping more refugees.

5 ideas for family biking fun in London this school holiday

Herne Hill Velodrome Holiday Club SE24
The much-loved Velodrome runs a long established and popular school holiday club for kids of 8-16, as well as (non-stabiliser) pedal bike sessions for 4-8 year olds, every Thursday 5-6pm and Saturday 1-2pm.
More information here

Richmond to Hampton Court bike ride
A West London family-friendly 8 mile jaunt, this route is manageable for all the family as it’s largely pretty flat. Either take the overground to Richmond or drive to Richmond Park and park the car there. You can cross over the river at Kingston and take in a bit of culture at Hampton Court Palace, before heading back to Richmond.

Track School Holiday Club, Lee Valley VeloPark E20
This club offers a full day course of fun games and activities to help riders (12-16yrs) progress and build confidence in track cycling. Cyclists will cover a range of basic skills including track etiquette, using track gradients and group riding skills finished off with basic track races. Limited places remaining.
More information here

Ride along the Regent’s Canal
Enjoy the colourful narrowboats in Little Venice, travel through Regent’s Park past the zoo, and onto buzzy Camden.
More information here

And finally, why not have a family bike clean and clearout?
Donate any old bikes to us at The Bike Project, and check out our range of secondhand bikes for all the family, including this Specialized Hotrock Girls 24″



The Bike Shop

Drumroll please… we have just launched our very own online bike shop!

The Bike Shop

And these are the best bits about it:

– All proceeds go to The Bike Project to help get more refugees cycling
– The bikes are very affordable and significantly cheaper than buying a new bike
– We will deliver any adult bikes anywhere in the UK for free
– All the bikes have been lovingly refurbished by our professional mechanics and fitted with new parts when necessary to ensure they are almost as good as new.

Accessories available also!

Start shopping


Words from LCC:

The Bike Project named Community Cycling Project of the Year

29th June 2015

The Bike Project was named Community Cycling Project of Year at the London Cycling Awards 2015 on 29th June.

At an event attended by the leading figures and organisations of London’s cycling industry, The Bike Project was officially honoured for its community spirit and efforts to bring cycling to a wider audience in the city.

Members of the public selected the project for their outstanding achievements, which are aimed at enabling refugees to access bikes, learn maintenance skills and attend workshops.

Over 15,000 votes were cast online – in categories that included Best Cycling Hangout, Cycling Event of the Year, Community Project of the Year, Youth Project of the Year and the Business by Bike Award – in recognition of the people, organisations and projects that make the wheels of the city turn around.

The London Cycling Awards celebrate the vitality of all things cycling in London. Our winners are pioneers who have strived to make our streets safer for cycling and to attract new cyclists,” said LCC Chief Executive Ashok Sinha.

They are businesses that are raising the bottom line through cycling and they are grassroots projects that are using cycling to improve lives, including for some of London’s most disadvantaged people.”

Cycling is a key tool for addressing the many quality of life, transport and environmental challenges London faces.

The ceremony was presented by broadcaster Jeremy Vine in the iconic surrounds of the ICA. “A tin of blue paint does not make a cycle superhighway,” said Jeremy Vine, a seasoned commuter in his introductory words, before going on to declare the feeling of cycling in London as “indescribable.”

– We’re chuffed to bits! –

Female Cycle Instructor

Calling All Female Cycle Instructors!


Female Cycle Instructor with The Bike Project. Help us teach refugee women to cycle!Have you recently qualified as a cycle instructor and fancy getting a bit of practice under your belt? (and are you a woman?)

Are you a well experienced instructor that could teach US a thing or two, and have a Tuesday morning to spare?

We’re running cycling lessons for refugee women who are completely new to cycling. This is an extremely fun and rewarding project, and we welcome anyone keen to help!

If you do fancy getting involved, please get in touch with Sarah:

Women's Proj Flyer online high quality-01

Cycling, outreach, shortfalls and progress in migrant communities: A refreshingly acute discussion (by Ms Nicola Hill, dream volunteer and all round great egg)

Nicola Hill, dream volunteer for The Bike Project
As a professional who works in community engagement for cycling projects I couldn’t help but get frustrated by the lack of service
provision for migrant communities in London, so imagine my delight
when I came across The Bike Project!

The idea of up-cycling London’s many abandoned bikes seemed perfectly
logical and the numbers really do add up. At last, there are two other people (in Jem and Sarah)
who have made the connection between welfare, public health and
environmental initiatives. Not only this but they were were navigating
and seemingly freewheeling their way through what can seem like an
over-bearing system to deliver real benefit to refugees and asylum
seekers, some of London’s most destitute and deprived.

As a new migrant learning to live in London on limited funds a bicycle
is a vital lifeline, a precondition to feeling socially included and
successfully integrating intosociety as well being of great benefit
to health and mental well being. With a bicycle a refugee can
access food, social centers, lawyers, therapy sessions, medical
appointments as well as make it to those all important reporting
meetings at Home Office (for which no provision for travel expenses is

The Bike Project is also working to break down conventional barriers
to cycling for migrant communities. Sarah is currently running a
specific cycle training session for women who may never have had the
chance to cycle before or just do not feel confident cycling on
London’s streets. This really is pioneering.

TfL have long been aware of the differences in travel behaviour
between different minority groups, reporting that that 71% of London
residents from ethnic minority backgrounds say that they ‘never’
cycle, compared to just 57% of white Londoners, not to mention that
just 28% of cycle trips are made by women!

London is crying out for more ground breaking projects like
The Bike Project which increase cycling participation. The reasoning behind low
participation can be complex varying from group to group and some
barriers are easier to overcome than others. For example, when it
comes down to a language or inability to ride this can be overcome
with the provision of information and cycle training. However, other
reasons can be that people from the most disadvantaged communities are
more likely to live in an ‘obesogenic’ environment which discourages
walking and cycling and there are a lack of role models to raise awareness and
encourage community participation. These cultural constraints are
difficult to address. For example, in Hackney, though children
received cycle training at school, this was not sufficient to
encourage them to cycle outside or to/from school because their
parents, typically non-cyclists, did not consider cycling to be a
valid or safe mode of transport.

If more outreach and advocacy work like the Bike Project
is not undertaken across London then increases in cycle trip
frequency will only come from those who already cycle (predominantly
white, British) cycling more as opposed to engaging individuals from
harder to reach communities in changing their travel behaviour. This
is not sustainable.

Cyclists and non cyclists alike know that cycling offers many other
advantages to London as a whole including cleaner air, less noise and
fewer road traffic injuries, but more importantly, individuals who
travel actively feel more connected to their local environment,
especially the green spaces where communities can converge and become
more cohesive. This, I believe is where the real benefit is for asylum
seekers and refugees as new migrants, seeking to integrate and connect
with their new society.

The Bike Project is vital to not only changing attitudes and
behaviour, but also in addressing the growing importance of social
equity for all, which it is doing one bike at a time.

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Remember all profits go towards keeping refugees cycling!

Jem and Silla

Thank you!

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