Biosphere Bikes – Mental Health Awareness Week

Posted: 16 May 2024, in Case Study

What does your social enterprise do?

Biosphere Bikes seeks to foster a vibrant community of cyclists and wheelers by providing a welcoming hub where individuals of all backgrounds and abilities can come together to pedal, connect and thrive.  Situated in the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, we are committed to promoting accessibility, sustainability and the joy of cycling.  We have created a space where everyone feels encouraged and empowered to embrace the benefits of active transportation while forging meaningful connections with one another and the environment.

Biosphere Bikes is a Community Bike Hub that aims to use cycling as a tool for positive social impact. It creates inclusive employment and training opportunities no matter ability, disability or experience.  For those requiring a helping hand with education, rehabilitation, or adult/youth issues, it offers engagement, support and belonging.

We repurpose bikes, saving them from landfill and provide affordable bikes for the people of Girvan and surrounding areas.  We work with many community partners to achieve the recycling element of our social enterprise and deliver community learning and development courses.  

We provide affordable cycling and wheeling equipment to the local community and repurpose and recycle bikes, wheelchairs and disability trikes.  We provide a piloted trishaw to enable those with limited ability to get out in the fresh air and experience the joy of cycling.

As a social enterprise, our income streams come from our seasonal cycle hire hub, community bike servicing and repairs, repurposed cycle sales, repurposed disability equipment servicing, community learning and development courses for adults & young people and our e-bike library.

Being active is important for our mental health.  How does your social enterprise meet the theme of MH Awareness Week – “Movement: Moving more for our mental health”?

Biosphere Bikes Community Cycling initiative aims to engage adults & children to get on a bike in an affordable, accessible way.  We are shortly hosting a two day event in May called ‘On Yer Bike Girvan’ where we will provide all bikes, e-bikes, karts and assisted safe cycling opportunities with guidance and instruction from our trainers.  These bikes will be fully serviced and safety checked prior to the event so everyone is cycling safe.  We want to introduce people to the wonderful world of cycling along our amazing biosphere coastline, no matter age, ability or experience to boost mental health and physical fitness and reduce social isolation.  

We firmly believe that there is a type of cycle to suit everyone and that is why we have so many types of bikes and karts to choose from.  For those unable to cycle for health reasons or due to limited mobility, we offer the opportunity to experience cycling through a piloted Trishaw.  This type of cycle has a front seat for two people with a pilot cyclist at the rear.  The pilot cyclist has undertaken training with Cycling Without Age Scotland.

Biosphere Bikes community Hub would like to promote cycling as a healthy accessible activity with a legacy of the ‘On Yer Bike’ event, to hold monthly led rides set at a comfortable pace to match the group taking part.  These bike rides will aim to increase confidence and encourage people to use bikes as an active travel alternative to daily journeys or simply for health, wellbeing and enjoyment to seep in the sights and sounds of the Biosphere Park we are situated in.

Please give us some examples of your impact

We are the “go to” place in our community for cycle repairs, wheelchair repairs, pram and buggy repairs and will always go out of our way to help.  We love working with and in our community and these are some examples of the organisations we work with and what they have to say about us:

Girvan Academy works closely with Biosphere Bikes in promoting accessible active transport. Not only do we run a workshop together aimed at promoting inclusion and skills for learning, life and work through cycle maintenance we also enable young people with additional support needs to get and stay active. The support for learning department at our school currently has two adult scooters and a tri bike loaned to us from Biosphere. This means that we can offer active transport to those who have difficulties mounting a bike. The pleasure and skills this gives our young people to be included with the rest of their peers in outdoor learning is fantastic.  S Johnstone, Girvan Academy

Biosphere Bikes seafront bike hub attracts many families to the promenade in the summer months, encouraging people to get active and cycle along our beautiful Biosphere coastline. This dynamic organisation also attracts tourists who use their bike hire service to explore Girvan and the surrounding area, bringing income to local shops and cafes as well as signposting people to the local Tourist Information Point.  Go Girvan Community Led Tourism

Girvan & South Carrick Locality Planning Partnership (LPP) as the local voice of the Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) has as its primary aim the improvement of health & social care in the locality. It is well recognised that health & well-being, both physical & mental, is heavily dependent upon access to and participation in physical activity.  Biosphere bikes is an innovative project that have delivered real tangible benefits to the community since its inception. The LPP full support the work of Biosphere bikes to ensure that everyone can participate in cycling and learn various skills. Girvan & South Carrick Locality Planning Partnership

Biosphere Bikes provides ongoing support to Girvan Youth Trust including offering the use of their seafront bike hub in the summer months, encouraging young people to get active and cycle along our beautiful Biosphere coastline.  Biosphere Bikes also supports our Music on the Prom programme during the summer, providing a safe and friendly space for our music acts to get changed and providing transport onto the prom, to ensure that our acts arrive in style.  The team at Biosphere Bikes, including the hardworking volunteers are a credit to our town and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership in the future.  Z1 Youth Trust, Girvan