Hike and Bike Hub set up to encourage healthy leisure and active travel in Galashiels

The Hike and Bike Hub is a Social Enterprise, registered as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) in the Scottish Borders who look to encourage people in and around Galashiels area to walk and cycle more through the promotion of active travel and healthy leisure activities.

The charity was established by Angela and George Crow who are residents of Galashiels themselves and keen walkers and cyclists and identified the need for a walking and cycling hub in the town centre.

Through the Hike and Bike Hub, they offer led cycle rides and group walks, bike hire, bike repair, information about local walking and cycling routes, information about local services and seating areas for people to have a chat or even just rest.

Social enterprise

Social enterprises are businesses delivering services with or without charitable status but any profits gained are reinvested to deliver community benefit rather than to shareholders. 

Operating as a ‘pay what you can’ social enterprise, any money paid for services by those who can afford it is re-invested back into the Hike and Bike Hub and the services they provide for the community. 

Being able to participate in the last year of Cycling UK Scotland’s Cycle Repair Scheme, through March and April, has enabled 22 people to have had their bikes serviced and repaired, with the first £50 of costs being funded by the SCRS scheme.

Engaging with SOSE

The project came to SOSE attention through the SOSE public engagement tour series which took place across the South of Scotland in early 2022.

The Hike and Bike Hub also meets a need that was defined by the Galashiels Tapestry Way Study published last year, which identified a series of actions are to be taken forward to ensure Galashiels town centre becomes more attractive, active and accessible.

SOSE support

SOSE has given expert support to the SCIO by providing governance support and advice around business and accessing funding.

Thanks to the advisory support from SOSE, Hike and Bike were able to gain premises in Galashiels, build their business plan and lever over £20,000 in external funding for the delivery of their services.

Working with SOSE means the charity has also been able to engage positively with wider structural projects across the South of Scotland such as the upcoming Kirkpatrick C2C, Scotland’s Coast to Coast cycle route set to be delivered this summer ahead of the 2023 UCI World Championships.

Looking ahead

The Hike and Bike Hub received support from Cycling Scotland’s Cycling Friendly Community Fund, which supports organisations across Scotland to take a leading role in increasing the number of people who cycle. 

Acquiring funding has allowed them to purchase bikes from fellow social enterprise Just Cycle Ltd and local family run businesses, Diamond Cycle Centre and Willow E-Bikes, as well as national retailer Tomcat for a multi-use trike to expand their offering further. 

A key organisational priority for the Hub moving forward is to be an autism positive employer and trainer, with inclusivity and support at the heart of any recruitment to encourage and retain neurodiverse staff members.  

Aim to make South of Scotland leading cycling destination

The South of Scotland Cycling Partnership Strategy was launched in September 2022.

It aims to turn the South into Scotland’s leading cycling destination and also embed cycling in local people’s lives and organisations like the Hike and Bike Hub play a role in achieving those aims. 

Key activities in the strategy include the upcoming 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in August 2023 and Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast route, which is due to launch summer 2023.

Other exciting projects in the strategy include the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre which now has planning permission, Destination Tweed trail, and 7Stanes project amongst many others.

Lena Hutton, Community Development Advisor at SOSE said:

“Supporting organisations like Hike and Bike from concept to fruition is a privilege within a work role.

“The commitment of individuals like the Crow’s is the glue that binds communities and success of this organisation supports so much more than just the Hike and Bike enterprise, their energy, learning and passion will support others to develop their ideas too.”

Angela Crow, co-founder of the Hike and Bike Hub said:

“The last year has certainly been a rollercoaster, with a huge amount of learning but it has all been worthwhile to be able to do what we set out to do, which is to encourage more people to walk and cycle in and around Galashiels.

“We want to share our passion for those activities, along with the pride we have for the beautiful area in which we live, with as many people as possible.

“I have also been encouraged by the number of people who have asked about the autism information on display around the Hub, and have had conversations with people who have shared their own experiences as well as with those who are interested in learning more.”

George Crow, co-founder of the Hike and Bike Hub added:

“One of the nicest moments for me so far has been being able to repair one bike under the SCRS scheme for a client who was so overcome with emotion that her bike had been fixed, free of charge, that she cried happy tears.

“I am not ashamed to admit that I felt quite emotional at that point too!”

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Hike and Bike Hub