Image above: Ruth Mayorcas
Ruth Mayorcas, cycling advocate and ambassador, is taking part in Ride London this year with her partner Jan Verschuur to raise money for her favourite charity – The Bike Project.
The charity takes second hand bikes, fixes them up in their workshop and gives them to refugees.
“The reason I chose The Bike Project is that I befriended a refugee who needed a bike. The organiser of the charity West London Welcome had applied for a bike for them, but there was such a long waiting list.”
Asylum seekers live in poverty. They can claim £40.85 for each person in their household to pay for essentials: food, clothing and toiletries, but they are not allowed to work while their claim is being considered and many wait for over a year for even an initial decision on whether they will be able to remain in the UK.
The difference The Bike Project is making to people’s lives is phenomenal. Hassan Akkad, a Syrian refugee, photographer and filmmaker, has made this video to explain how liberating it is to be able to get about by bike if you have no money and what a difference it makes to people’s quality of life.
On target for its 10,000th bike this year
The Bike Project has just donated its 1,000th bike this year. They are projected to reach 10,000 bikes in 2022, donated to refugees since the charity was formed in 2013.
They also run a befriending scheme called Bike Buddies. As a buddy, people are matched with a refugee cyclist to meet up for cycling activities. The project aims to build confidence and knowledge of cycling, reduce isolation, improve well-being and encourage social integration and greater independence.
Pedal Power, another of their projects, offers cycling classes by women, for women, teaching cycling for refugee women in a safe, supportive and empowering environment.
No Prudential bike ride over Chiswick Bridge this year
“In the past we’ve done the Pru [Prudential bike ride] to raise money for Crisis and prostate cancer. Between us we’ve raised in excess of £2,000” says Ruth.
The Pru, from Stratford to the Surrey Hills, (passing along the A316 over Chiswick Bridge) is not taking place this year, so Ruth and Jan opted instead to take part in Ride London, a 100 mile round trip from Westminster to Essex, finishing up at Tower Bridge, taking place on Sunday 29 May.
Ruth was named one of the UK’s top 100 women in cycling last year, as an ‘influencer’. If you would like to donate to their fundraising for the Bike Project, click here.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features
Support The Chiswick Calendar
The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.
We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.
To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.