The Bristol Bike Project


Are you experiencing a long-term barrier to employment?
Would you benefit from access to affordable and sustainable transport?
Come and ‘earn-a-bike’ from us!

Here’s how it works

You will work with one of our Coordinators or volunteers for up to two hours to refurbish a donated bike, learning basic bike maintenance skills in the process. The bicycle is then yours to ride away! Once you have your bicycle you can keep it running smoothly at one of our drop-in Fix-a-Bike workshops where volunteers can help you with repairs, free of charge.

As well as our standard Earn-a-Bike workshop, we run a dedicated workshop for anyone who would prefer a quiet, women-only space called Freedom of Movement.

We ask for £20 at the time of booking a session. This is a contribution towards a new D-Lock & light set and new parts used on the refurbished bicycle. 

Our Earn-a-Bike programmes emphasise empowerment and self-reliance, involving practical, hands-on engagement that functions as a bonding process between owner and bicycle. Since we started in 2008, well over 2400 bikes have been earned through the Project in this way.

Read on to find out about eligibility and booking requirements.

Young people’s Earn a Bike (ages 8-17 years)

Our Young Person’s Earn-a-Bike programme provides bikes to children and young people from low income families and looked after children. The scheme is participatory and hands-on with the young person working alongside a volunteer in the workshop for around 1 1/2 hours during a Friday after school appointment to get their refurbished bike finished and set up correctly.

We accept referrals from many organisations and professionals working with families, including:

  • Creative Youth Network
  • Bristol Refugee Rights
  • 1625 Independent People
  • Bristol Hospitality Network
  • Bristol City Council Social Services and looked after Children teams
  • Teacher/Headteacher
  • Social prescriber or GP
  • Family Support Worker

This list isn’t exhaustive but gives you some ideas of who to approach if you would like to refer a young person to us for a bike. Please get in touch if you need any further advice.

We ask for £20 at the time of booking a session. This is a contribution towards a new D-Lock & light set and new parts used on the refurbished bicycle. 



Wednesdays 10am – 1.00pm and 2.00pm – 5.00pm

A session specifically for the ongoing maintenance of bikes given out through our Earn-a-Bike programme.

Unfortunately we don’t have the capacity to offer repairs if you didn’t get your bike from us. Why not check out our Women’s night or Bike Kitchen workshops where you can come along and do it yourself/together?

*Booking is required for this programme 


Thursdays 10.30am – 1.00pm and 2.30pm – 5.00pm

*Booking is required for this programme 

"I heard from Bristol Refugee Rights that I could get a bike from The Bristol Bike Project and now I use my bike more than I thought I ever would. It's means a lot to me. I use it every day, to get to meetings, to church, to the library to read and to visit friends. It's saved me a lot of money not using the bus." James, from Gambia

Am I eligible to take part?

Our Earn-a-Bike programmes are available to people currently experiencing involuntary long-term unemployment of 6 months or more. We do not accept students.

This may include people:

● seeking asylum or with refugee status and unable to work
● with ongoing mental or physical health problems
● with learning difficulties
● who are homeless or in supported/sheltered housing
● undergoing a substance abuse recovery programme
● on probation

You may be referred through an organisation or refer yourself. We work in cooperation with over 50 organisations in and around Bristol, including Bristol Refugee Rights, Bristol Drugs Project, Second Step, Unseen, The Big Issue & various youth groups amongst many others.

How to book a session

To book a session for yourself or someone else, please call 0117 951 9692 or visit our shop during opening hours. One of our staff will take your details and book you into the next available slot. You will need to pay £20 either by card (over the phone) or in cash at the time of booking – see below*

You will need to tell us your exact height so that we can find a bike that’s the right size for you. If you are under 18, you will always need to come with a parent, guardian or support worker.

*The bike and the workshop session are both free. However, there is a non waivable £20.00 charge to cover the cost of a good D-lock and a set of lights to help keep your bike and yourself safe. This must be prepaid at the time of booking and is non-refundable in the event of a missed appointment.

Please call us to rearrange your session at least three days in advance if you can no longer make your appointment. We will offer two appointments to people who are unable to attend the first one but will then remove you from the waiting list so that other people can take part!

By coming to this workshop, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions.


What does the workshop involve?

You will be guided through a practical session in basic bike maintenance skills. No prior experience is necessary, but this is an interactive session, so you’ll need to be prepared to be hands-on and get involved!

What kind of bike will I get?

This programme is made possible thanks to the generous donations of bikes we receive each week and the time and energy given by our wonderful volunteers. This means there is often a very limited choice of bikes available, but we work hard to ensure the bikes we prepare are practical and the right size. We do not provide electric bikes through the programme.

What if I’m nervous riding a bicycle?

If you are not a confident cyclist, we recommend you sign up for the 3 free cycle skills sessions provided by Lifecycle. You are responsible for making your own way home safely. Please make transport provisions where needed.