Lukas' story

How learning to fix bikes gave Lukas the strength to survive prison.

Meet Lukas

Lukas (not his real name) found himself in prison, low and alone, for the first time aged 61. He had no family in the country, so received no visits from his daughters.

Coming to prison for the first time can be a massive shock. Although he could become animated when spoken to, when we first met it was clear that Lukas was in very low spirits:

“I feel I am out of society. I might as well die. I’m a shell. I work, I eat but it’s nothing inside. I see no future. I'm tired of the pain.”

An intelligent and thoughtful man, Lukas had always worked.

He’d worked as a panel beater on the outside and owned his own business. He was desperate to work inside the prison too. So he asked to join Life Cycle's Bikes Beyond Bars project. Having something to keep his mind occupied and his hands busy had a huge effect:

“Being in the workshop is the best medicine. You don’t think about your problems as you are concentrating on your work.  I know if I’ve done a good job or not... In prison you have no control over what happens to you, but in the workshop you feel more like a human being.”

A source of hope

In a remand prison, it is not unusual to meet men like Lukas whose whole life has been turned upside down.

There is a lot of uncertainty whilst awaiting trial and sentencing. Not knowing what the future holds has a huge impact on mental well-being and often leads to feelings of despair.

That’s why it is so important to have positive, engaging activities inside prisons: activities that make people feel human again, and give them skills and hope for the future. Lukas says of our workshop:

“It just feels good on bikes, feels so good. There are moments when you’re back to your real life, your soul lifts”

Bikes Beyond Bars

In 2017, Bikes Beyond Bars (formerly known as Bike Back) was delighted to win the Prison Reform Trust’s 'Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Re-integration'.

We currently run the scheme in Bristol, Derby and Leicester.

Support more people like Lukas

Donate now to give people like Lukas the tools to build a brighter future after release.