Garden Ride, which ran on the 1st November 2019, was put on by Trust Links in partnership with ForwardMotion. We wanted to encourage the wider community in South East Essex to get active and to explore our beautiful therapeutic gardens.
We opened seven sites across South East Essex throughout the day, for people to walk or cycle between. Garden Ride was completely free and family-friendly, with refreshments at each site, a lunch at Growing Together Westcliff and goodies for everybody that attended. No matter how confident participants felt on the bike, or how much cycling or walking they were able to complete, Garden Ride was for everyone. We were thrilled to open up our therapeutic gardens for the public to explore, and make sure that everyone wanted.
In total, Garden Ride was held at seven sites: all four of our Growing Together sites at Westcliff, Rochford, Thundersley and Shoeburyness; at St Laurence Orchard near Southend Airport; and at two community gardens at St Luke’s Church in Prittlewell and Mendip Wildlife Garden in Thundersley.
Ahead of the event, we ran two cycle training sessions at Growing Together Westcliff on the 18th and 25th October. It was crucial that we provided the opportunity for people to gain some bike confidence and practice cycling on the road ahead of the big day.
One of our participants, Julie, said:
I was concerned about bike safety in the road and how to signal turns and position myself in traffic. With their training I know how to take ownership of the road!
Garden Ride attracted nearly two hundred people and reached over ten thousand on social media. We are hoping to run Garden Ride again in 2020, as well as other cycling events throughout the year.
It was a brilliant way for us to learn more about sustainable travel in Southend, and it was a wonderful opportunity to connect communities and empower people to make greener, healthier decisions about how they travel.
The best part was the sense of achievement after finishing at each site. Cycling is good for your health, so it’s a win for you and it’s a win for the environment!