Access Bike Project is an open-door, youth-led workshop, where young people come together to build, repair and up-cycle old bikes.
On a busy day at Access Bike you may find over 25+ participants sharing skills and creating something new out of recycled materials, as well as selling affordable bikes to the community and encouraging those to fix their own bike or join our ‘earn a bike’ scheme where you can come along and build a bike for yourself and give your time to help in return.
“The atmosphere is great here, it’s always such a laugh. Nice people, good tunes, great bikes, what’s not to love!?”Access Bike Participant
Most people stick around for much more than that, Access Bike offers a space where young people can feel respected and trusted by their peers and workshop leaders. Participants are encouraged to be inventive, by making bike wheel chandeliers or bike tyre belts that can be sold in our workshop!
‘Climate change is such a massive issue but it’s really easy to feel disengaged from it at a local level, but Access Bike kind of brings it into reality, I’m here with the community, we’re fixing bikes, it’s just a really good thing to do.’ Access Bike Participant
In 2020, Access Bike re-focused on peer-mentoring for vulnerable young adults. 1:1 support focused on the mentees’ personal development, their specific needs and aims, both in the workshop and out on bikes rides. Many mentees’ independence, attitudes and confidence have improved drastically since participating in mentoring, inside and out of the workshop. Two previous mentees have returned as regular volunteers, and the newly developed training programme for new mentors has provided paid positions for 6 excellent mentors, enabling Access Bike to provide dedicated peer-support for up to 14 mentees per week. One older volunteer led weeklybike maintenance training sessions for marginalised adultsthrough the GEM project, giving them more confidence and self-esteem towards overcoming multiple and complex barriers to work.
We were pleased to start working with GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) and an inspiring group of young people this year. Our sessions have provided a safe place for them to come together, to form close friendships and mutual support, to get out of the city and enjoy green spaces on foot and cycling. This work will continue into 2021 and we are planning adiverse range of opportunities and activities tailored to the needs of this group.
We do accept donations of old bikes, but at the moment we are very full, and we’re steadily working through a big pile of bikes. The best thing to do is send a photo of your old bike to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can see if it’s something that we can make good use of.
See you down in our workshop soon!
What’s Next for Access Bike?
Future projects that are currently in the planning stages at Access Bike include:
– running a new round of mentor training
– providing a pop-up bike repair service at the train station
– developing a ‘graduate scheme’ which will enable regular volunteers to take ownerships of different projects and initiatives, providing them with a transition between school and work and resulting in a worthwhile qualification to add to a CV.
We also plan to arrange work experience trips to businesses within the bike industry, which could lead to an apprenticeship for a young volunteer, and we would like to provide even more enriching external activities like this in 2021
- Buy a bike from us! Part of our mission is to break down barriers to riding a bike, and one way we can do this is by working together to fix old bikes and sell them in our little shop for really affordable prices. So it’s time to swap 4 wheels for 2 and come find your dream bike!
- Donate to Access Bike! A very exciting addition to this project is our Access Bike Mentoring Programme. It has been organised and developed by the workshop team to hold dedicated personal development sessions for those who need a little extra support in getting a really valuable experience out of Access Bike. Our one-to one sessions are proving to make a huge difference to people’s lives, helping participants gain independence, make friends, build their own bike and feel part of a wider community.