A social enterprise has so far distributed 5,500 bicycles to people in local communities across Liverpool city region since 2017. Tony McDonough reports
Social enterprise HYPE Merseyside has distributed 5,500 bikes to local communities since 2017 in order to encourage more people to cycle.
Birkenhead-based HYPE launched HYPE Urban Bikes in April 2020. It initially provided recycled and refurbished bikes to NHS and key workers during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
It was born out of HYPE Merseyside’s bike loan project, which launched in 2017. This project aimed to make cycling more accessible to everyone, particularly young people from marginalised or deprived backgrounds.
HYPE Urban Bikes relies on donations of unwanted bikes from the public. It also has partnerships with companies including Merseyrail, Veolia and Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority. They provide the scheme with bikes left unclaimed at Merseyrail stations and those taken to local recycling centres for disposal.
As the scheme celebrates its latest landmark it is calling out to the public for donations of any unwanted bikes – in any condition – to meet continuing high demand. This demand is being fuelled, in part, by the cost of living crisis.
Since 2017, the organisation has supported 5,500 people with bikes, 4,000 of those via the HYPE Urban Bikes scheme. The initiative promotes environmentally conscious travel and a way to improve health and wellbeing.
Its mechanics upcycle bikes to donate or sell at affordable prices, as well as loan to commuters. The success of the scheme was recently recognised at the Echo Environment Awards, where it won the Healthy Living Award.
Recipients of donated bikes have included NHS workers, asylum seekers, local young people and commuters unable to afford the cost of a new bike.
Cash raised from any bikes sold are also used to fund youth bike workshops, one-to-one mentoring with young people aged 14-18 years, training and courses for unemployed young people and delivery of balance bikes workshops for children aged three to seven years.
Matthew Houghton from HYPE Merseyside, said: “We are incredibly proud of the HYPE Urban Bikes scheme. It has helped us to get thousands more people cycling across our region.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generous donations we have received from the public and also the support of partners such as Veolia and Merseyrail. To have helped 5,500 people get into cycling is amazing. And we want to do more, so if you need a bike, need help with repairs or want to donate, please get in touch.”
One beneficiary of these training schemes is Jade, who received funded mechanic training from the team at HYPE Urban Bikes. She has now worked on more than 200 bikes and is a fully-qualified Cyctech Level 2 Bike mechanic.
She said: “The support from HYPE Urban Bikes has given me confidence to learn more and be part of a team, it’s great to see the people we help daily. If I were to sum up my experience in three words so far it would be educational, progressive and rewarding.”
To find out more visit hypeurbanbikes.co.uk or call the hub on 07916655045. The shop is open weekdays from 10am to 4pm.