New cycling facilities help youngsters in Dundee get on their bikes
May 24, 2021
After applying for Cycling Friendly Community development grant funding, a programme funded by Transport Scotland and delivered by Cycling Scotland, the Yusuf Youth Initiative has been able to purchase bikes, cycling equipment, and bike storage facilities to teach more Dundee-based kids and adults to cycle and learn how to maintain their bikes.
The youth group first introduced cycling in 2016, providing national cycle training programme Bikeability to the kids. As the young people started to develop their skills and confidence in riding a bike, the joy of cycling spread wider as family members started to dig old bikes out of their garden sheds to join their children on bike rides.
Isa Mallick, project manager with Yusuf Youth Initiative, shares the impact the project has had on a young participant: “Rayan was seven years old when she first engaged with us. After trying cycling once she got off the bike and wouldn’t get back on, and she wouldn’t come back to the classes…
“After talking to her family, we managed to get her back to the next beginner session … It took a few sessions, but we got her cycling. To see her smiling and confident was just fantastic, when previously she had been scared and tearful. Rayan would say she’d been looking forward to the session all week.
“We worked with her for a few years, and now she has passed Bikeability Level 3 and is able to ride on roads on her own. She even leads on sections of our led rides as a confident 12 year old!”
Yusuf Youth Initiative has achieved the Cycling Friendly Community Gold award, which is reserved for community groups who are creating and delivering a long-term plan for developing cycling in their community. A major barrier to active travel, particularly in Scotland’s minority ethnic population, is not knowing how to ride a bike, or being able to afford one. The most recent funding has allowed them to expand their fleet of bikes and storage facilities, to reach even more people and break down barriers.
Sandra Lavergne, Cycling Friendly Community Development Officer at Cycling Scotland, says: “The Cycling Friendly Community fund is aimed at community groups in Scotland who want to increase opportunities for people to cycle. The funding can be used for bikes or facilities that make cycling more accessible for the community, regardless of people’s ability, background, or financial situation.
“Encouraging cycling in the community can bring people together, build skills and confidence, and address social and economic inequalities. Yusuf Youth Initiative are doing an incredible job in Dundee, bringing people of all ages together to discover the joy of cycling.
“We’d encourage any interested community groups to get in touch to discuss available support and opportunities.”