Recently we visited a couple of other bike projects – Recyke-a-bike in Stirling and ED’s Cycle Coop in Bishopbriggs – to learn from what they are doing in terms of cycling, bike maintenance and bike recycling.RecyckeABike_20130418_12

In addition to our own De’ils On Wheels staff two volunteers from Wheel Fix It, a new bike recycling project in Drumchapel, also joined us on our visits.

The purpose of the visits were to learn more about:

  • bike maintenance services, bike sales and income generation
  • bike maintenance classes and mobile Dr Bike service
  • cycle hire scheme
  • cycling skills programme for businesses, community groups and schools
  • Recyke-a-Bike’s experience of the Revolve Reuse programme, the national reuse quality standard which Recyke-a-Bike have recently achieved
  • to share knowledge and information about our projects.

The visits enabled us to learn from two organisations that are running successful projects and services and are managing to generate income from a range of those services.

Recyke-a-bike is very well organised from the moment that the bikes enter the workshop right through to the moment they leave via the retail space. This is clearly one of the reasons that theyRecyckeABike_20130418_17 have recently achieved the Revolve Reuse accreditation. This was also due to their investment in the staff and volunteers and making people feel valued for their contribution to the organisation and its success

The method Recyke-a-bike use for processing the donated unwanted bikes as soon as they arrived in the workshop using a simple triage system (scrap, salvage, reuse) significantly reduces the number of times the bikes need to be handled as well as reducing the related paperwork.

Other top tips that they shared with us included:

  • Using old filing cabinets to store salvaged bike parts (pedals, brakes, seats etc)
  • How to deal with accepting donations
  • What to do if customers never come back for a repaired bike
  • The importance of a papertrail and having more than one staff member check completed work
  • The good working relationship that they have with other bike shops in the area and that their services compliment rather than compete with them

RecyckeABike_20130418_11Recyke-a-bike also explained how their bike hire and try-before-you-buy cycle loan schemes work and what the successes and failures have been to date.

ED’s Cycle Coop have developed strong links to all the schools in East Dunbartonshire and now working with all the nurseries so that they can achieve their vision of every school child being able to cycle by the time they go to Primary School. They have developed a network of parents who have become qualified in both bike maintenance and cycling skills thus making the schools and community much more resilient in terms of cycling. This gets the community involved in the whole cycle of cycling not just cycling itself.

A really interesting aspect of the visit to ED’s Cycle Coop was the range of different bikes that they used to encourage people to get involved in cycling and how they used these bikes as advertising for what they do. They also outlined how their annual Cycle Festival (Sun 16 Jun) has grown year on year to become the event that it is.

Many thanks to both Recycke-a-Bike and ED’s Cycle Coop for hosting our visits, which were made possible with support from the Development Trust Association Scotland Knowledge and Skills Exchange fund.