Applications are now open for Cycling Grants London, a £240,000 grant programme from Transport for London that aims to make cycling more accessible, especially groups that are traditionally underrepresented in cycling.
This is the fourth year of the funding, which is managed by Groundwork London and is open to community and not-for-profit groups across London. Up to 30 schemes will be funded, with the maximum grant being £10,000.
The programme is aimed at groups that are traditionally under-represented in cycling, such as through income, health, ability, skills and access to a bike
Since it began, TfL's Cycling Grants London programme has helped 90 projects encourage over 14,000 people to cycle. Initiatives that could get grants include cycle training, loan bikes, guided rides and courses to teach basic cycle maintenance.
Limehouse Women's Cycling is one example of a project, which has received funding from Cycling Grants London, and is aimed at helping women to get into cycling. The sessions are aimed especially at Bangladeshi women, though the group is mixed, and everyone's cycling ability is different.
Participant Momtaz Begum-Hossain said: ''I had often wondered if I would ever be able to ride a bike. I never learnt as a child, and when I became an adult so many other distractions came along that my cycling goals were forgotten about. I enrolled in a free 12-week women's cycling course, I absolutely loved the cycling part and seeing the others all grow and develop as the weeks go on. Having a routine of going to class on Sunday morning, knowing I was going to spend it in beautiful surroundings with friendly women who were all so inspiring, was the highlight of my weekend.''
Staynton Brown, TfL's Director of Diversity and Inclusion, said: "We're working hard to make cycling more accessible for everyone and it's fantastic to hear of so many success stories. As we enter the fourth year of this scheme, we hope to encourage even more Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to take up cycling, improving their wellbeing and London's air quality and congestion."
Earlier in the year London's cycling and walking commissioner Will Norman said cyclists in London were too white, male and middle class.
“There is a problem with cycling and the way it is perceived of getting middle-aged men cycling faster around the city, which is not the objective at all," he said.
He added that the growth of London's protected cycleways had not yet brought about a shift in cycling's demographics.
"Even when we have seen the growth in the number of cyclists, we haven’t seen that diversity. There are a number of reasons for that. One is that safety is paramount for getting different people from different walks of life cycling: older people, younger people, those from different backgrounds.”