Upcycling is being taken to a new level as an innovative project breathes new life into worn-out bicycles, thanks to south west-based charitable housing association BCHA.
The Urban Bike Project, based at BCHA’s The Factory in Poole, is being driven by the organisation’s IT trainer Jamie Johnson, a lifelong cycling enthusiast from a family with a passion for pedal power.
The initiative will help BCHA’s customers to bring tired bicycles back into use and reap the physical and financial benefits of cycling, while equipping bike enthusiasts with essential training, skills and qualifications. The fledgling community project will provide bicycle repairs, servicing and maintenance, preventing worn out bikes from going to waste.
The Urban Bike Project secured £1,500 of funding from Boost Energy Drinks, enabling cycle-specific tools to be bought. A special rate for spare parts was agreed with Velo Lounge in Wool, putting the project on track.
Open to residents at any BCHA location, the Urban Bike Project provides practical work experience for customers and the opportunity to secure an industry standard qualification: Cytech Technical One - Theory. Cytech is a recognised training and accreditation scheme for cycle technicians.
The eight-week course equips participants with bike-related skills, including workshop practices, torque, lubrication, tyres and tubes, British standards, pre-delivery inspection, health and safety and consumer legislation.
Jamie Johnson said: “It's important for our customer base to be mobile - there are significant benefits of cycling for physical and mental health. A lot of the bikes we take in are old tech, so they're easy to repair. With a little TLC we get them back on the road again.”
Four BCHA residents are signed up to the Urban Bike Project, with several more on a waiting list. Enrolled customers on the two-days-a-week course have been supplied with smartphones to document and share their cycling passion on social channels.
With a long-term goal of opening up services to the public, plans are being drawn up to sell and maintain repaired bicycles, generating funding that would enable the project to become self-sustaining.
For media information on BCHA please contact BCHA Communications Manager Victoria Kate via email at: Victoriakate@bcha.org.uk