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The wheel number: GTR have now donated 1,000 bikes abandoned at stations to charity recycling schemes
The wheel number: GTR have now donated 1,000 bikes abandoned at stations to charity recycling schemes

Press release -

GTR donate 1,000th abandoned bike for new life in South London

With a vanload delivered to Community Cycleworks in Southwark, South London this week, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) have now donated over 1,000 bikes abandoned at stations to charity recycling schemes.

GTR have been making donations for two years, since the Covid pandemic prevented the auction sales of the bikes. The train operator began to look for organisations who could make use of the hundreds of bikes, many in surprisingly good condition, left at stations each year.

They currently make regular donations by the vanload to six charity partners, based across the rail network from Huntingdon to the south coast. The charities all run bike recycling schemes and promote cycling as a sustainable way to travel and a healthy activity.

The company also worked with local authorities and NHS Trusts to donate bikes to NHS workers during lockdown.

GTR has now delivered 85 bikes to Community Cycleworks since the partnership was set up in April 2021. Working with Southwark schools and youth clubs, the charity runs ‘Build a Bike’ courses in which local children learn to refurbish a donated bike over a four-lesson programme. The participants then get to keep the bike they fixed, for themselves or a family member.

Cycleworks also lead rides for children to build cycling skills, which along with their new maintenance and repair skills make them more confident and safer cyclists.

Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, said: “It’s fantastic to be working with Community Cycleworks and our other partners to promote healthy, green transport by extending the life of previously unwanted bikes. Cycleworks are making these bikes roadworthy and safe for young, deserving new owners, at the same time giving them the skills to make the best long-term use of them. By encouraging young people to cycle and look after their bikes we’re creating lasting benefits for their future.”

Stewart Vanns, Founder/Director of Community Cycleworks, said: “We are grateful to GTR for supporting more people into cycling with the donation of bikes. Before our partnership, our flow of donations was 'patchy'. Now we have a regular delivery from GTR we are able to provide a more timely service to people that sign up for our ‘Build a Bike’ scheme.

“These bikes go to local people, families, or children, who may otherwise struggle to afford a bike. Once riding, people then have access to our support services and drop-in Bike Fix to help them maintain and repair their bikes in the future.

“Thanks too to Vistry Partnership, our other partner who kindly covers the mechanics' worktime.”


Notes to editors

Pictured (left to right): Hayley Whitehorn, Community Cycleworks Workshop Manager; Kevin Bell, GTR Facilities team; Johnny Marcher, Community Cycleworks volunteer

Abandoned bikes

GTR collect a steady stream of bikes abandoned at stations, many in surprisingly good condition. The bikes are tagged on-site at the station for at least a month, and then moved to the company’s main store at Horsham for a minimum of another month, in case the owners claim them. All efforts are made to reunite the bikes with their legal owner through British Transport Police and the bike registration scheme. The company used to sell unclaimed bikes at auction, with proceeds going to charities, but since Covid restrictions put a stop to this in early 2020 it has formed partnerships in which the bikes have been donated directly to charities and local authorities with recycling schemes.

About Community Cycleworks

Based in Walworth in the London Borough of Southwark, Community Cycleworks is a not-for-profit organisation that works to promote cycling to young people and their families.

Established in 2012, Community Cycleworks helps people overcome some of the common barriers to cycling through innovative and engaging projects. They passionately promote cycling as a viable mode of transport that improves riders’ health and wellbeing, reduces air pollution and “just makes you smile.” See more at



For more information, contact the press office on 0203 750 2031.

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

Govia Thameslink Railway
United Kingdom