Find out more about how a campus in Edinburgh is making cycling more accessible for everyone.
Benefits of cycling as a student
For students across Scotland, cycling is a great way to overcome some of the challenges that being at being at college, university or living in a new city can bring. Keeping fit, reducing stress and saving on transport costs are just some of the many benefits of getting around on a bike. Our Cycling Friendly Campus programme works to encourage staff and students of all experiences and abilities to get on their bikes.
Accessible active travel
One campus that has been working hard to make bikes more accessible for all its students is Edinburgh College.
Jen Murray, who works as a Campus Cycling Officer at the college was alerted to the everyday impositions and difficulties for people with disabilities, and was determined to focus her efforts on inclusive and accessible travel initiatives. “I saw that students who had to get dropped off by taxi would end up arriving at any time, not when their classes were due. Another woman who was coming to the campus and uses a wheelchair was telling me how she had to phone the railway every day to see that there would be ramp facilities for her,” Jen says. “It made me think about how much we take for granted and I wanted to see what the college could do to help people with disabilities get into active travel.”
Piloting an inclusive active travel open day
Edinburgh College’s Sighthill Campus, in the west of the city, was chosen as the site for an inclusive active travel open day. Jen got in touch with the Edinburgh All-Ability Bike Centre (ABC) which has a wide range of adapted bikes, including tandems, tricycles, twinned bikes and others with adaptations to suit different abilities and experience. Students and staff were invited along to try the bikes and find out more about inclusive active travel.
The "liberating joy of cycling"
Reflecting on the event, Jen, who is employed as a Campus Cycling Officer as part of the Cycling Friendly Campus internship scheme said: “I had so many wonderful conversations surrounding inclusive active travel and the liberating joy of cycling. I spoke to students about their experiences, with parents of children with disabilities who were keen to find out more about adaptive bikes and with one man who lived in the local neighbourhood who had seen the event advertised and wanted to find out more about the types of adaptive bikes he could use. I really felt in my heart that the event was the start of something special. Bringing people together to experience cycling, share stories and relate to each other is powerful.”
The start of something special...
The open day was indeed the start of something special. In its vision to promote and support active travel for everyone, Jen and the college has now arranged for Edinburgh ABC to host a group of students weekly. These sessions will give students the opportunity build confidence, independence, balance, fitness and feel the freedom that comes with cycling. In addition, Jen secured funding from the internship fund to cover a shuttle from the college to the centre of the city: an adapted minibus will take students to and from the centre every week, overcoming the barrier of cost and transport which so often works against people with disabilities.
Find out more about the campus programme and how your college or university could benefit here.