A cycling organisation in Enfield is getting more Turkish-speaking people on bikes by breaking down common barriers.
Londra Bisiklet Kulübü, also known as the London Cycling Club, delivers cycling sessions in Enfield, with its focus on engaging Turkish-speaking people in the sport.
Driving instructor Ozgur Korkmaz, 43, founded the organisation in 2019 after cycling from London to Istanbul, a journey which took 46 days to complete.
Korkmaz, whose tour saw him ride through 11 countries, said: “I had nothing to do with cycling until then but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and the daily routine of life.
“The journey changed me in many ways and made me realise that the majority of Turkish-speaking people don’t cycle.”
Korkmaz explained his reason for setting up the London Cycling Club was to break down the language and cultural barriers which he found were stopping many people in his community from cycling.
He added: “I knew that I had to do something to overcome these issues.”
The club, which had 115 members at the end of 2021, provides cycle training sessions, maintenance classes and group bike rides to both children and adults, with its oldest member being 62.
It also hosts women’s-only sessions to increase participation in bike riding among Turkish-speaking women.
These classes are held every Friday and attracted more than 80 participants last year.
Korkmaz explained that an inability to purchase a bike stops many women, particularly those of ethnic minority backgrounds, from cycling.
The London Cycling Club donated bikes to 32 low-income women from ethnic minority backgrounds in Enfield last year as part of its efforts to combat this.
Donations have also been made to schools and community centres, with the organisation planning to gift bikes to North Middlesex University Hospital and Ukrainian refugees.
Korkmaz, who is passionate about using cycling as a tool for positive change, said: “Driving in London can be a nightmare because of traffic and it’s very costly.
“Cycling is a much cheaper alternative and it’s more environmentally friendly, so the more people that cycle the better.”
The club was recognised for its work at the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) Awards 2021, taking first prize in the “Growing Cycling” category for broadening appeal in the sport.
Korkmaz said: “It was really good for our work to be recognised like that, especially because we only started this organisation in 2019.
“I’m so proud of the volunteers who’ve made this possible. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into these bicycle training sessions and I’m glad that we’ve been able to make a big difference.”
The London Cycling Club hosts its sessions at Churchfield Recreation Ground on Great Cambridge Road.
Bikes used in the classes are stored in shipping containers the club transformed into painted bike hubs, with Enfield Council providing the first of these when the organisation was founded.
To find out more about the London Cycling Club visit its website.