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The Bike Station Perth - Tue 13 September 2022 - Perth, Scotland (© photographer - Andy Ca

Our flagship community programme

Shifting Gears is a grassroots community led project that has been operating since April 2021 in Perth and Edinburgh. The aim of the programme is to to support and work with individuals who have been typically underrepresented or excluded from sustainable travel programmes.

Shifting Gears Programme Logo

Our Report

We have compiled the following report summarising the impact of the Shifting Gears programme from it's conception in 2021 to now. 

The Shifting Gears Programme

Case study - Jill

Jill joined Shifting Gears through our partner VOCAL back in June 2022 along with her son Arlo. Owing to a history of arthritis and a recent ankle injury, Jill felt that a low impact activity such as cycling was a good choice for her. Although she had cycled within the last five years she was lacking in confidence, particularly around traffic and so requested cycling lessons as well a bicycle.


“Walking is still a bit of a struggle for me (after my ankle injury) so cycling enables me to go further and travel longer distances because the bike takes the weight.”


Soon after receiving her refurbished bicycle through the programme she began joining cycling workshops and group rides. Two major barriers for Jill were the often inclement Scottish weather and living in a top floor flat, which meant that she had to carry her bike up and down several flights of stairs. Consequently she didn’t attend many lessons at first but thanks to her perseverance and a little encouragement from our cycling instructor she was soon a regular attendee. 


Now, 18 months after joining the programme, Jill is one of our most active participants. During this time she has joined 27 cycling workshops, 7 group rides, and 2 maintenance classes. As a result of her determination and practice she feels more confident in her cycling ability and can cycle further than before.


“I am a lot more confident than when I first started. I am now happier to go on the roads. Roads were one of the things that put me off before. Now I can make quite long journeys.”


Alongside her progress with cycling she has enjoyed exploring new places and learning about Edinburgh’s network of off-road paths. 


“Anna has taken me to lots of places that I didn’t know about (in Edinburgh). Discovering this warren of cycle paths that I never knew about was great.” 


Two rides that she highlighted were the group rides to North Queensferry and the trip to Loch Leven. As well as cycling new routes and visiting new places she especially enjoyed the social aspect of these trips.


“It was really great getting out to Loch Leven for the day. I’ve enjoyed the group rides and meeting new people. Cycling across the Forth Road Bridge was brilliant, I haven’t done that since I was a kid.”


Her mechanical confidence has also improved thanks to Bruce and our maintenance workshops. 


“Now that I have done two sessions I feel I could have a go at fixing a puncture. The stuff with Bruce helped to break things down and make it more approachable.”


Jill said that her friends and family are happy to see that she is getting out more and that she has received several invitations to go for rides with them. Going forward she hopes to get out for more rides on her own, something with which she hasn’t felt ready for yet. She also hopes to ride more with her son Arlo and with her friends. 


“I want to try and get out without Anna a bit more. Arlo has a bike as well so it would be nice to go for a ride along the waterfront.”


Overall she is grateful for the opportunity to cycle and for the support of Anna and the Shifting Gears Team and feels that it has had a positive impact on her.

Case study - Kaden

Check out the video below which shows the journey of Kaden, one of our Shifting Gears participants.

Our Partners

We work with a number of partner organisations across Edinburgh and Perth to help us reach participants for the Shifting Gears programme.

Edinburgh Partners

Perth Partners

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