Bike blog: setting up a community bike workshop

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Welcome to our weekly bike blog, where we share our enthusiasm for all things two-wheeled. This week’s topic is one we’ll no doubt return to – community bike workshops! Here, we share some ideas for getting a community bike workshop going. Leave us a comment below with yours!

  • Start simple. Get together with others nearby to pool what you have – this could be as straightforward as a list itemising the tools owned by each person, and their contact details.
  • What else could be of use? Sharing your tools makes the acquisition of new ones considerably easier – especially more expensive items such as bike stands, which are extremely useful but perhaps unaffordable for an individual. Note what tools you’d like to get, and decide how you’ll split the cost. Could you run a membership scheme, where interested folk pay an annual stipend to use the group’s resources? Could you hold a fundraiser, or collect donations in a more ad hoc way?
  • Setting up tools and equipment in a permanent location does complicate matters – but having a dedicated place for bike fixing is a fantastic resource. Is there somewhere you could rent cheaply, or a way of getting funding to pay rent? What kind of procedures will you need to put in place to ensure that tools stay safe and secure?
  • If you’ve got somewhere to store them, consider asking for donations of old bikes. Getting bikes back in working order is a satisfying process – in the process you can learn more about bike maintenance and furnish someone else with a set of wheels. No matter the state of disrepair, most bikes have something on them worth keeping.
  • One of the best aspects of having a community bike workshop is being able to share skills and learn with others. Perhaps you could run a monthly tutorial where you get to grips with something specific.