Southern Railway donates bikes abandoned at its stations to Cycling UK

Fifteen young people in South London will learn cycle maintenance skills and earn a renovated bike of their own, thanks to a partnership between Cycling UK and Southern Railway.

Southern Railway has donated the bikes, which they had found abandoned and left unclaimed at its stations, to the cycling charity. These bikes have now been delivered to Walworth-based Community Cycleworks, which run ‘Build A Bike’ courses with Southwark schools and youth clubs. Participants can keep the bike they fix or give it to a family member as a gift.

The children learn maintenance skills, along with a thorough understanding of how a bike works, allowing them to solve problems when they are cycling. Research shows that this knowledge boosts self-confidence as a cyclist, so encourages children to use their bikes more often.

Toby Edwards, a London-based training and cycling development officer for Cycling UK, said: “Cycling UK is hugely grateful to Southern Railway for donating these abandoned bicycles which will make a real difference to the lives of children in South London.

“The ‘Build A Bike’ project run by Community Cycleworks offers young people a chance to learn how to maintain and fix donated cycles which gives them or their family member a real sense of ownership and pride. Whether it’s cycling to school or riding for fun with their friends, hundreds of miles will hopefully be clocked up once these bikes have been brought back to life.”

Southern now has partnerships with four bike-restoration charities on its network and delivers batches of 25-30 abandoned bikes to each in turn as stocks build up. These new partnerships follow the train company’s schemes with West Sussex County Council and Horsham District Council, whose recycling programmes restored abandoned bikes for key workers at local NHS Trusts.

Angie Doll, managing director for Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “It’s fantastic to be working with all our partners to promote healthy, green transport by extending the life of previously unwanted bikes. Cycling UK can find these bikes a variety of deserving new owners. And by encouraging young people to cycle and look after their bikes we’re creating lasting benefits.

“We’re proud to help keep Britain moving safely and sustainably. We’re building strong local partnerships right across our network to help communities recover and prosper.”

The donation is a timely boost for cycle education in South London coming shortly after the Government announced an £18 million funding package to provide Bikeability training across the country.

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