Norwich group helping people with bicycles

A new community project in Norwich is using bicycles to turn vulnerable people's lives around - with events including a Pimp my Bike workshop.

Not About the Bike is a community workshop which teaches people to refurbish old bicycles, offering training, education and work experience to those who have become socially isolated either through age or disability, or other circumstances.

It is run by its users, as well as community workers from Norwich City Council and volunteers.

Thanks to an �8,500 lottery grant it has been able to buy tools and equipment and launch a fortnightly inclusive cycle ride and the Pimp My Bike workshop.

The ride helps people who do not have the confidence to ride on their own to get out and get used to riding in the city. Two hand-cranked bicycles are also available for people with disabilities who cannot pedal traditional bikes.

The Pimp my Bike sessions also teach people to maintain and fix their own bicycles and can help people learn social and work skills to help them rebuild their lives and get back into work.

Development worker Sarah Smith, who helped to organise the project, said: 'We set it up really to give people a chance to do practical things, because though we're development workers we found that the people we were working with, there weren't many things that catered for their needs.'

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'People can bring a bike along, and we do have some donated bikes, they can come in and do the cycle maintenance on them and have help to spray and customise their bikes, and keep it at the end,' she added.

'It's been really good. It's become quite a social group. We want it to be a little community hub where people can get together.'

The events are held on alternating weeks at Unit 6, Beckham Place, on each Wednesday starting at 10am and 1.30pm.

It is hoped that the project will help people gain confidence and enable them to connect with the wider community.

For more information call Sarah Smith on 01603 626014.

t Are you organising a cycling event in Norwich? Call reporter Matthew Sparkes on 01603 772439 or email