Bikes for all: Bradford Bikery and Byron Primary School join forces

The team at Bradford Bikery, a community bike project specialising in refurbishing bikes and re-selling them at affordable prices, have been running bike sales at schools across the city. We went along to a bike sale at Byron Primary, our Bike Friendly School on Barkerend Road, Bradford to find out more.

2 children and 2 adults with bikes in school hall
Anthony Thomson, Muhammed Eisa-Ahmed, Alia Khan and her son Ayyan.

Ask someone “What are the biggest barriers to getting more of our children, the next generation, cycling?” and top of the list will probably be “safety concerns and a lack of suitable traffic-free routes”.

For some people, however, it can be something more fundamental: access to a decent, affordable bike.

The team at Bradford Bikery, a community bike project specialising in refurbishing bikes and re-selling them at affordable prices, have been working hard to overcome this by running bike sales at schools across the city.   

We went along to a bike sale at Byron Primary on Barkerend Road, Bradford to find out more. 

With the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway, a 23km route segregated from traffic, running right outside the entrance to the school, Byron Primary - a CityConnect Bike Friendly School – is in a great location to get more pupils and parents cycling.  

Richard O’Sullivan, Headteacher, said: “Lots of children are overweight and unfit - it’s a big challenge for schools across the country - and we are responding to that by promoting healthy, active lifestyles. 

“With the cycle superhighway at the front door it seems foolish not to tap into that as much as possible, and we’re very keen to encourage both pupils and parents to cycle more. 

“We know this is an area with high levels of congestion and air pollution - anything that reduces the amount of cars on the road has to be a good thing.

“More and more of our children are cycling to school, with between eight and 10 doing so on a regular basis, rising to between 20 and 30 during the summer months."

Richard O’Sullivan, Headteacher at Byron Primary

In addition to funding for bike parking and skills training through CityConnect, Byron Primary has received support from Sustrans and Children in Need, as well as Bikeability training.

Not only has Byron taken part in the Schools Yorkshire Tour for the past three years, it also has its own cycling club and plans are afoot to build a cycle path within the school grounds. 

“We want to get involved at every level,” said Richard.  “We want all of our pupils not only to view cycling as a mode of transport, but also a sport they can get involved in.”

Parent Alia Khan, who works as a Learning Support Assistant at the school, and her nine-year-old son, Ayyan, are just one example of how the school’s commitment is paying dividends.

Alia bought a bike for Ayyan at one of Bradford Bikery’s previous sales at the school.

Alia said: “The bike sales are a great idea.  It gives children, whose parents cannot afford expensive things, the opportunity to buy their own bike at quite an affordable price. 

“Ayyan had been suffering from growing pains at the time and cycling has really helped strengthen his muscles and leg bones.  It’s also helped with his balance and coordination. 

“Ayyan cycles to school most days because it’s less hassle and saves us both time as well - with all of the traffic driving to school takes me 10/15mins but with Ayyan cycling and me walking alongside it takes half that.” 

Ayyan said: “Cycling is fun. It makes me feel happy and excited.”

In March 2018 CityConnect awarded Bradford Bikery more than £9,000 to support people in the community to travel by bike.

Anthony Thomson, co-founder of Bradford Bikery, said: “The bike sales we’ve been running here and at other schools across the city have been really successful, and it’s been great to see so many young people going away with a bike of their own.

“By working in partnership with the council we’ve been able to focus these activities in areas where there’s the most demand and this means we’ve seen real results when it comes to getting more of our young people cycling. 

“It’s a virtuous circle really.  The bike sales are good for the schools, parents and pupils, and it works for us too because the money we take helps subsidise the workshops we run with prisoners - through the Margaret Carey Foundation - to refurbish all of the bikes.”