Last month Edris, a bike recipient, had a masterclass in bike servicing from Maria, one of our magnificent mechanics in London. Afterwards we had a chat about his experiences with Bike Buddies and how he likes his new bike!
Please introduce yourself.
My full name is Edris Jahangiri. I’m Iranian. I live in the UK for about one year and I’m 33 years old.
When did you get here? How do you find it so far?
Actually I love (the UK), I’ve been in London not the other city but I love the UK. I love London. I love British people. I love Bike Project as well.
When did you first come into contact with The Bike Project?
One of my friends introduced Bike Project to me and I sent an email to Bike Project and they immediately answered my email and after a few days I think they sent me a really nice bike.
How long have you had your bike?
About six seven month I think.
Has your life changed since getting a bike? How?
Of course, it’s changed for me because, on the one hand, I like cycling I like sport, one the other hand, this bike helps me to not get stuck in the traffic. I can go everywhere easier, I can discover London (and) I can discover countryside around my area. Yeah, I love. Recently I met a group of cyclists, I think it’s related to Bike Project, and we go cycling out of London once a week.
And how has your experience been with that group of cyclists?
I love them because they are very helpful because I’m new to cycling, I’m a new cyclist. They really help me, they know me, they go with my speed not with their speed.
What’s been your favourite thing about Bike Buddies?
One of the best part, I met an amazing woman. She helps me very well to know cycling, she helps me to join a group and she always come with me to make me confident to cycling. She and her husband.
Her name is Deborah and her husband is Kevin. And at the moment I know some of them, like Paul he was helpful, he was the leader of the cyclists. Last week we went to St Albans, I love the road, I love the area. Yeah, I like that area, I would like to go there again.
This was my lovely experience.
The work here at the Bike Project, giving out bikes, having social rides, yoga…do you think it is important work and why? How is it helpful?
Yeah, it’s really important for the people like refugees, like me. We are new in this country, Bike Project is like a family for us in this country because they gave us a free bike, they helped us to change repair, fix the bike. The group that I go for cycling they help me to be to be more happy. It’s really important and they are very helpful.
Why do you think others should support The Bike Project?
From my experience, I see lots of refugees in this country get depression because they stay at home all the time, they don’t do any activity but I’m really happy. I think one of the most important reason is met Bike Project, met the group of cyclists because I go outside I do lots of activity with them. It makes me really happy in this hard period of time, of course because of pandemic. I’m really happy I do lots of activities, cycling, sightseeing, everything. This morning I cycled to go here for two hours and I have to come back for two hours again!
Do you like cycling?
Of course, I love cycling!
What’s your favourite cycling memory? So favourite time you went cycling?
Every single time that I have been cycling with the group of cyclists was amazing. But one of them was going to St Albans.
Why was that your favourite? Because it was a new area?
Yeah new area and the beautiful café played live music in the streets and (there is a) beautiful lake and famous church in St Albans. And we went in the morning by cycling and I went again in the afternoon by myself! Because I wanted to discover it.
If you could change everything in the world, if you had that power, how would you want refugees to be supported in this country?
Okay, we have an example in my language and it’s “if you want to help anybody, don’t give fish to eat, teach them how can they get fish. If they learn they can eat fish everyday”. Bike Project gave me a bike and taught me how can I cycle in the city, out of the city and I can enjoy every day. I think I answer the question through this example.
Yeah that’s a really great way to put, it’s a good phrase in your language. We don’t have such good things in English!
Those are all of the questions I have. If you want to say anything else you can.
I hope that everybody can feel happy, can feel free, can help each other to be happier because this situation is very hard and if we can help each other we can live happier.
Thank you Edris for speaking with us! Please consider becoming a regular giver so we can continue supporting refugees and asylum seekers.