Launched during the pandemic, CYCLE42 is the result of cross-sector collaboration between Hadley Property Group, Clarion Housing Group, Brompton Bike Hire and multiple charities, who came together to offer free bikes for hire to Merton residents.
Who is the developer/client of the project?
Hadley Property Group
Describe the context of this project and its contribution to the urban life and user experience of the place.
At Hadley Property Group, our mission is to become London’s most committed, innovative and inclusive mixed-use developer.
42 Station Road was acquired as a development site in late 2019. The existing children’s soft play centre closed down during lockdown, despite our offer of an ongoing rent-free period, leaving the site empty. As our early proposals progressed, we identified a local appetite for cycling and active travel, which would become a central feature for the proposed development and a core focus for our meanwhile strategy.
Through engagement with local ward councillors, community groups and charities, Hadley engaged in extensive on-site activation seeking to benefit local residents, groups facing barriers into cycling, those most affected by the pandemic and local key workers. Hadley joined forces with Brompton Bike Hire, to enable active travel; The Bike Project, who provide refugees and asylum seekers with bikes and training programmes; Dons Local Action Group, working to end furniture poverty in London; and Care4Calais, who support asylum seekers and refugees with food and clothing.
All charities work closely together from the site, our pop-up community hub renamed ‘CYCLE42’. They operate beneath a mural painted by a local artist, celebrating diversity and inclusion within the area. The site hosts furniture storage and deliveries, food donation events and training courses for bike mechanics. To encourage sustainable travel, Hadley partnered with neighbouring developers Clarion Housing Group and Brompton Bike Hire to launch a 12-month programme offering 50 Brompton bikes for Merton residents to hire for free for 90 days.
How has this project, event or installation enlivened the place in a creative way?
CYCLE42 is a fantastic example of different groups, charities, organisations and stakeholders coming together under one roof to create tangible social value. From the outset, it has been entirely led by the local community and driven by a desire to make the best use of available space and serve diverse needs. CYCLE42 is reflective of our shared values of sustainability, inclusion and wellbeing, and each activity at the pop-up hub responds to different local needs.
CYCLE42 was born in the midst of the pandemic when charities and those they serve were in particular need of support. It gave our three partner charities a home and touched the lives of hundreds of Merton residents. The Bike Project have enabled refugees to travel to access food banks, healthcare and employment. Dons Local Action Group have donated furniture for those who would have been moving into empty flats. Care4Calais have offered hot meals for asylum seekers who rely on their provisions to get by.
This innovative project was the result of cross-sector collaboration between Hadley, Clarion and Brompton, who came together to battle loneliness, stress and lack of exercise worsened by lockdown, to enable key workers to travel safely and get disadvantaged groups cycling for the first time. We are also fostering training and professional development at CYCLE42, offering apprenticeships to local young people from the start of next year, giving them the opportunity to learn about bike repair and the specialist art of bicycle brazing.
What do you see as the greatest success of this project?
We believe the greatest success of CYCLE42 is that this pop-up hub has transformed a disused building into a thriving centre for activities based around cycling, up-cycling and recycling, whilst serving the needs of Colliers Wood. It has created a bold and beautiful community hub and sets the example for other developers to follow by providing meanwhile to permanent uses that are sustainable, responsive and truly beneficial for the community.
Sustainable active travel, circularity and fostering community-focused connections will be threaded into every aspect of the future development at 42 Station Road. These themes form a considerable proportion of our design proposals, meaning our pop-up activities will be promoted within the final development and our meanwhile uses will become permanent fixtures in Colliers Wood. Cycling infrastructure will play an integral role, with a new bike café and bike facilities where residents can store, rent and repair bicycles. The development will support local cycling routes and provide outdoor drinking fountains, rest areas and information boards.
After 12 months, our free bike hire scheme will have enabled around 200 local key workers and residents to engage in cycling, and feedback from participants has been astonishing. Having access to a Brompton has truly impacted their physical and mental wellbeing and instilled in them a desire to keep cycling for good. And after wide press coverage and recognition locally, we are exploring where we can expand the CYCLE42 project in other communities across the country.
Please share any data or figures that support your entry, for example increased footfall, happiness surveys, event attendance and/or observed changes in behaviour. Did it make a positive economic, social and environmental contribution?
“I have used my bike every day for going out, running errands, shopping and work.” - Alejandro
“Physically, I have noticed that my stamina has improved. Mentally, I have felt happier and love to get the fresh air.” - Ata
“I am a volunteer at a homeless shelter and the people there love the bike and come up to me to talk about it. It generally has given me more freedom and capacity.” - Hannah
"When I got my bike I cycled for 10 miles. It’s 3 years since I even sat on a bike and 40 years since I rode any distance. It was an exhilarating ride. I have chronic fatigue syndrome and I felt physically better than I have felt for ages. I felt brighter and more optimistic than I’ve felt for a long time. I have used the bike every day since, making a journey, one day, of around 10 miles. I’m no longer confined to my immediate location. The bike has given me a sense of freedom in the midst of the lockdown. I’ve lived in Mitcham, Merton, for nearly 20 years, but now I’m experiencing my local area, and my day, in a whole new way on a bike. I can also use the bike to get to work without the risk of picking up the Coronavirus on public transport. We are intending to start a resident cycling group as soon as Coronavirus regulations allow." - Simon Edgell.