Young and old alike encouraged to get cycling this New Year


She’s 74, beaten two bouts of cancer and a stroke, and has recently had one of her toes amputated, but that hasn’t stopped resilient resident Annie Mangion taking up cycling for the first time in more than 60 years – all thanks to Hackney Council.

The last time Annie remembers being on a bike is cycling to school when she was 13 but the pensioner began her cycling renaissance after signing up to the Council’s New Age Games which gives residents aged 50+ free access to a range of different sports and exercises, including mountain biking.

Annie said: “I’ve been cycling quite recently down by the River Lea with the New Age Games on a Friday. I love it; they‘re all very nice people and we go around the marshes on mountain bikes but now I’m ready to start cycling on the roads.”

Dinner lady Annie, started her cycle training at London Fields just before Christmas, and she’s looking forward to going on-road in her next session.

Taking advantage of the Council’s free cycle training has increased her confidence and now she’d consider taking up the Council’s offer to borrow a bike for a month for £10.

The Cycle Loan Scheme allows residents to try out a bike of their choice for one month for just £10. After the four weeks, they can choose to buy the bike at a discounted price in instalments over six months.

Now residents of all ages, including older people, are being encouraged to get bargain biking this New Year with the Council’s loan scheme, which also comes with free training courses.

Annie said: “It’s a great idea to get more oldies on the road, my advice would be ‘get out there and do it’. Who’d want to be stuck on a stuffy bus when you can cycle?”

Lenval Greer, 27, is a newly qualified physiotherapist, and he is saving around £60 a month on public transport travel after signing up to the scheme which, as well as a quality bike, also provides helmet, lock, lights, child seat and other accessories at no extra cost.

“I've always wanted to start cycling but this gave me the incentive to do it,” he said. “I'd never cycled my commute before but I wanted to give it a try to save some money and to get some exercise. During the month I cycled more than 120 miles to and from work at the Barbican from my home in Hoxton. I’ve also found it much easier than I thought it would be to get around London and see friends on the bike.”

He added: “The cycle training was really good. The most useful elements were the signalling, learning how to emergency stop and making me check over my shoulder before turning.”

Cassia Maximen bought her bicycle through the offer, following in the footsteps of mum Clair Conliffe who was one of the first to sign up to the scheme.

Cassia said: “It’s been the first step to changing my life and it’s had a massive

Impression on my whole family. We use our bikes for everything now - work and leisure - and we just wanted to say thank you to the Council team.”

Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Hackney Council
If you’re thinking about getting fit and saving money in the New Year then I would urge residents - young and old alike - to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to get a bargain bike and free cycle training.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Hackney Council

It is easy to register for the scheme, simply go to: www.cycleexperience.com/hackneycycleloan or call: 020 8356 4891. To find out more, go to: hackney.gov.uk/cycle-loan

If you are aged 50+ and would like to know more about the New Age Games, visit: www.hackney.gov.uk/New-Age-Games  call: 020 8356 4897 or email: darren.english@hackney.gov.uk