Bristol, UK - Events Local News Groups Contact
Getting To Know....The Bristol Bike Project
By 365 Bristol / 365bristol.com

The Bristol Bike Project aims to provide free bicycles to underprivileged groups that would not otherwise have the opportunity to own one. All of the bikes are either unwanted or unused and donated by the general public, and the new owners have to attend workshops to overhaul and maintain their bikes.

The aim of the project is to be sustainable with a strong emphasis on people helping themselves, reducing the amount that ends up in landfill and recycling as much as possible.

We caught up with co-founder James Lucas to talk about the project, his favourite cycle routes in the city, and how he envisages the future of the project. 

1. When did you set up The Bristol Bike Project? 

I set up the project with a good friend of mine in December 2008. I was very much enamoured with the principle of just getting on with it rather than waiting for funding to become available and soon discovered what a HUGE resource unwanted and unused bicycles are in Bristol! It snowballed relatively quickly, with lots of new people getting on board within the first year.

2. Are you from Bristol?

I am - a real life Bristolian! People are always surprised to come across them as it seems to be seen as quite a transitory city by many.

3. Tell us about your business?

Well, it's a not-for-profit social enterprise rather than a business as such! We are a comprehensive community bike project, that repairs and relocates unwanted bicycles in our community. At the core of our organisation is our weekly Earn-a-Bike programme that makes bicycles accessible to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford the cost of buying or maintaining one - to date, we've had over a thousand unwanted bikes 'earned' through this programme.

We also run several programmes specifically aimed at young people, as well as offering general repairs and servicing and secondhand bikes for sale, the surplus from which, all gets reinvested and supports the community work that we do.

4. How can people get involved?

One of the great things about the project these days, is that there really are numerous ways of getting involved and lots of different entry points to the project, whether you are an expert mechanic or a complete beginner. If you are interested in volunteering with us and learning more bike mechanics in the process, then take a look at our volunteering page here.

Or perhaps you're more interested in coming on one of our cycle maintenance courses, having the opportunity to use our well-equipped workshop and tools to fix up your own bike or would simply like to become a member or supporter of the project? All of this information can be found on our website.

5. How do you find running a community organisation in Bristol?

Bristol is a wonderful city to be running a community organisation such as the bike project. It has a lot of enthusiastic, motivated folks with a strong DIY spirit and I think that a lot of people living here prioritise making time to do other things than just paid work, so volunteering is really popular in the city.

This also means that there are loads of fantastic, grassroots initiatives and organisations to get involved with and to seek advice, solidarity and support from. The Bristol Bike Project is set up as a worker's co-operative, which means that we have no hierarchy or bosses and that there is shared ownership with lots of people involved in running the project on a day to day basis.

6. Where do you like to eat out in Bristol?

I'm a big fan of Cafe Kino, as I think that they are really dedicated to and represent vegan food well here in the city. I also really like The Bristolian on Picton Street (where I'm often found editing Boneshaker Magazine, which grew out of the bike project) and Katie & Kim's because those two are simply fabulous! Oh, and theFarm Cafe in St Werburghs too, as I live very close by and they do great coffee!

7. Any favourite cycling routes or areas in and around Bristol you can recommend?

I love heading out of the city over the Clifton Suspension Bridge and up towards Ashton Court and Leigh Woods - we're very fortunate to have such beautiful green space on our doorstep. Pedaling out to Clevedon and back on smaller, country roads is also a blast.

8. Where do you see The Bristol Bike Project in 5 years time?

Hopefully even more self-sustaining than it is now and more popular than ever as everyone will have been forced to give up driving in the city by then and have to walk, cycle, skateboard and use much-improved public transport instead (I can't help but dream!). We are always looking at setting up new programmes and would also like to support other satellite bike projects start up in some of the more deprived areas on the outskirts of the city - we're looking at starting something like this as I write.

9. What advice would you give to community organisations and charities struggling with funding and support?

Wherever possible, to try and design into your organisation or charity (from its inception if possible) the ability to be self-sustaining, if not completely, than at least partially.

I really believe that community groups need to be more resilient these days when funding is perhaps less available or consistent and this is definitely one of the ways of achieving this. It's also very empowering as an organisation to be self-sustaining and autonomous as it's much easier to hold on to your integrity that way.

On another note, there are also lots of organisations in Bristol that help to connect community groups with those people wanting to volunteer and so that can also be helpful - people power can be a magical, transformative thing! The power of social media is also not to be underrated - build your own communities by proactively spreading the word and don't be afraid to ask for help and support.

10. If you were Mayor of Bristol for a day which one thing would you change?

I would totally reassess the way that cars are currently able to move around and dominate our cityscape. Part of this would mean an outright ban on private motor vehicles from large parts of it, whilst at the same time, improving public transport (trams anyone?), increasing pedstrianised areas and inner city green space and implementing proper cycle infrastructure (think Copenhagen).

I'd also kickstart a decent, affordable (even free perhaps?) hire bike scheme, which would include cargo bikes for moving larger things around! And because it's current, I'd also honour the idea of Bristol being a truly Green Capital this year and reject the proposed metrobus scheme (see. www.risingup.org.uk) which, at this very minute, is threatening some of the city's most precious food-growing land.

For more information about The Bristol Bike Project, visit their website.

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 15,500 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 12,409 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
The Little Engine That Couldn't: How We're Preparing Ourselves and Our Children for Extinction
Daniel Quinn · 8,930 views today · In a recent semi-documentary film called Garbage, a toxic waste disposal engineer was asked how we can stop engulfing the world in our poisons. His answer was, "We'd have to...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 6,256 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Debt, Inequality and the Logic of Financial Violence
David Graeber · 4,392 views today · Five years after Occupy, organizer and anthropologist David Graeber speaks to ROAR about the power of finance, the history of inequality and the legacy of the movement.
Prince Ea Just Put The School System on Trial and Found it Guilty of Killing Free Thought
6 min · 3,776 views today · Albert Einstien once said "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid". Today Prince...
The Culture of Maximum Harm
Daniel Quinn · 3,035 views today · People have lived many different ways on this planet, but about ten thousand years ago there appeared one people who believed everyone in the world should live a single...
Incredible Photographs and Witness Statements from Charlotte and Baton Rouge Protests
Mankaprr Conteh · 1,984 views today · On September 20, a black father named Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by an officer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. It is not clear if he was armed...
The Left Deserves Better Than Jill Stein
Kate Aronoff · 1,857 views today · Stein’s Green Party run doesn’t offer a plan to win, or to build power. The Left is capable of so much more.
How You Can Support Standing Rock
Thane Maxwell · 1,679 views today · This is your pipeline battle too. Whatever you have to offer, we need it. Wherever you are, take one step deeper. Find your voice. Find your own front lines.
Yemen's Forgotten War and Famine Fuelled by Weapons from The West
3 min · 1,592 views today · The world has forgotten the war in Yemen but you'll remember these shocking images of its starving children.
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 1,071 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
Kids Killed by Guns: America's Daily Nightmare
3 min · 1,066 views today · On an average day in America, seven children and teenagers will be shot dead.Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost on one random day - 23 November 2013. Ten children...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,009 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Olympian John Carlos on the Power of Protest
3 min · 988 views today · 1968 Olympic athlete John Carlos protested racial inequality by raising his fist in a Black Power salute on the medal stand. He has some advice for athletes like Colin...
This Satirical Trump Vs. Bernie Debate Is Both Hilarious and Highly Disturbing
44 min · 923 views today · Comedians James Adomian (Bernie Sanders) and Anthony Atamanuik (Donald Trump) bring two of the most controversial candidates in history, head-to-head, or rather bald-to-toupee...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 886 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 817 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Gabor Maté: Why Our Culture Makes So Many Of Us Unhappy
3 min · 637 views today · Dr. Gabor Maté explains why it is that our culture makes so many of us unhappy, unkind to one another, miserable, alienated from ourselves, etc. Watch the full interview in Part 2.
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 609 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Getting To Know....The Bristol Bike Project