Womxn’s Night… why we’ve changed our name!

Last month, our Women’s Night crew got their noggins together and decided it was time to re-name our workshop. We’re now called Womxn’s Night! This conversation was just one of many about representation and diversity at the Project, and the conversation is far from over. At The Bristol Bike Project, we’re committed to inclusivity, and we’re constantly reviewing our policies and practices to try to reflect this. We also know we don’t always get it right, which is why we’re open to constructive feedback about all the decisions that we make. So here’s why we’ve changed our name..

We use an ‘x’ in “womxn” to underscore inclusivity

Given the current social climate where some are being emboldened to overtly discriminate and publicly verbalise bigoted opinions, Womxn’s Night wants to make it absolutely clear that we explicitly include women of colour, trans women, femme/feminine-identifying genderqueer and non-binary folks and any other women who may feel discriminated against in some areas of feminism. 

Is it our understanding that the x in womxn recognises that sadly not all women’s groups are inclusive. Although it is only a letter we hope it shows that we seek to be as inclusive as possible in keeping with our need to offer a space free from the influences of sexism and other forms of discrimination or exclusion. As a group we proudly stand up against racism, sexism and any discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.  

So how do you pronounce it?

Nita Harker a co-organizer of the Seattle Womxn’s march sums it up quite nicely:

I actually think the challenge—particularly that it is hard to pronounce in your mind as you read it, that it forces one to stop and think, that it is not just easy and nice and recognizable—is part of the point. To me, it represents the complexity of gender. And when you confront the word “womxn”, you have to confront that complexity

Pronounce it the way you like there is no one way!

If you have ideas you want to share and want to get involved in the conversation, why not join our RAD (Representation and Diversity) Working Group? Email hello@thebristolbikeproject.org for more information!


The Bristol Bike Project goes Bespoked…

We were stoked to be back at Bespoked this year – a beautiful celebration of handmade bicycles and those who make them, with people travelling from all round the world to ogle at the latest designs and technology.

We were there to offer another side of cycling – demonstrating how cycling can be accessible to everyone by taking a bit of time and elbow grease to repair and rehome the thousands of bicycles abandoned every year.

In stark contrast to the shiny frames on show, we set up an ‘Earn-a-Bike‘ display to demonstrate how our volunteers can turn one person’s trash into another’s treasure. Our portrait exhibition gave a snapshot of the thousands of people who have benefitted by earning a bicycle through this scheme.

It was a great success. We engaged with plenty of interested visitors over the 3 day show. Our volunteers raised over £200 for the Project through the sales of caps and T-Shirts and we even had some generous cash donations, with a few local people expressing interest in becoming new volunteers too.

Thank you to Bespoked for having us back, and an even bigger thank you to our wonderful volunteers who gave up their time on the weekend to help raise awareness about the good work of BBP.

 


Have your say on our new home!! 📢 📢 📢

As our hunt continues for a new home, we’re having to get more creative and start looking further afield… We want to know where the BBP community travel from, and where you’d be willing to travel in order to keep using our shop and workshops. Please fill out this form – it only takes a minute! 🙏

 


🚲✊♻️ donor to owner story #3 ♻️✊🚲

This fabulous little Rockrider was donated to the Project by Lucy (in the high viz) and made it’s merry way round several volunteers to get some TLC before finding her new owner.

At one point we were worried that little Rockrider might be destined for scrap, but the hard graft of our volunteers Jason, Julien, Ben and Valentina brought her back from the brink! Mohammed completed the finishing touches at our Earn-a-Bike workshop before cycling her off for a new life!

Got a bike you’re no longer using? Drop it down to the Project and help more people get out on two wheels!

Want to see what happens to your donation? Ask our mechanics to ‘track this bike!’ when you drop it to us!

 

 


BBP Directors Group – call for applications!

We are looking for new directors for our Co-op! If you are a member of The Bristol Bike Project, passionate about bikes and the difference they can make to people’s lives, love working with people from across Bristol’s vibrant community, and want to get more involved in our dynamic and evolving project – this could be the role for you.

The Bristol Bike Project is a member-led Co-op with a flat structure, valuing everyone’s input equally and taking decisions in a responsible and collaborative manner. The Directors Group is responsible for ensuring the Project meets its various legal and financial obligations, and acts as a protector of our values, purpose, and practices. Directors bring expertise and experience to support the Project to achieve its potential, and provide advice and recommendations to our employees, members and volunteers. The Directors Group is elected by the Project membership and is ultimately accountable to the membership.

Details on the roles and responsibilities of the directors and the person specification can be found here. We recognise that the Project is best served by a Directors Group with a diversity of experience and skills and strongly encourage any members who share the values of The Bristol Bike Project to apply. Training and support will be made available to all new Directors, such as Coops UK training on the roles and responsibilities of being a Director of a Co-op.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more information before applying, please come along to our info evening on Wednesday 27 March 2019, 5.30 – 6.30 pm at the Project, or email hello@thebristolbikeproject.org.

To apply, please send a CV and statement of no more than 300 words outlining why you would like to be a Director of BBP, and your relevant skills and experience to hello@thebristolbikeproject.org before midnight on 1 April.

Please specify whether you are applying for a general director seat, or one of the finance, HR or community director seats. You can apply for more than one of the role-specific seats (for example, finance and HR). If you are applying for a role-specific seat, you will also be considered for the general seats unless you specify otherwise.

Candidates will be asked to meet with BBP members who are responsible for nominating suitable candidates for election. Candidates will also be invited to meet the wider membership at the AGM on 24 April ahead of the election.

 

The Bristol Bike Project is committed to equality, diversity and social and environmental justice, and we welcome applications from those who share our values. We value the different expertise and diversity of our employees, members and volunteers. We strive to make our programmes as inclusive as possible and will work with committed individuals to ensure participation. We encourage applications from groups underrepresented in our areas of work and we do not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, place of origin, class, citizenship, system of belief, gender, sexual orientation, language, marital status, family status, physical and/or mental disability.


The Bristol Bike Project talks to Quella Cycles

This month, our Community Coordinator Krysia, spoke to Quella Bicycle’s – the British single speed bike designer and retailer – about the Project’s ten year journey. This interview was originally posted in their blog, The Fix. The beautiful photos are courtesy of our friends James Mackay and Sim Warren.

Happy birthday to the project!  Congratulations on your 10th anniversary, that’s quite an achievement.  For those unfamiliar with BBP, can you explain how it all began and why?

Thanks! Yes, we’re really proud to be celebrating our 10th year! BBP was born when two friends came back from a cycling trip in Norway with the idea to do combine their new-found love of bikes with a desire to do good in their community. Through volunteering with Bristol Refugee Rights (BRR), they’d come to know of the acute need for affordable transport among asylum seekers in Bristol, many of whom were struggling to get about the city to make important appointments. They put up some posters asking for unwanted bicycles, and within days were spannering away and rehoming those bicycles with people from BRR. The mound of donated bikes grew as quickly as the number of people knocking on our door needing a bike themselves, and before we knew it we were settling into the vibrant workshop in Hamilton House which we still call home today. Our friend James from Touchpaper Productions recently made a film to tell the story of our 10 year journey. It’s a lovely watch, for anyone interested!

We hear you are in the 2019 Lonely Planet guide, what sort of experience are you offering a tourist who turns up with Lonely Planet in their back pocket?

Indeed we are! It was a lovely surprise to get that Lonely Planet window sticker through the post! The Project has definitely become a bit of a meeting point in Bristol, so it’s amazing to get this recognition on a national scale. For anyone, tourists or otherwise, interested to know more about the Project, I’d say don’t just come down to have a look. The real experience is by coming along and getting stuck in. You could come and fix your own bike at one of our DIY workshops, sign up for a maintenance course, or volunteer at a session to help others get out on two wheels! We also offer tours to people who are setting up their own bike projects, and we’re really happy to share our learnings to get people started.

How many staff and volunteers work at the Project now?

We’re a pretty big community now… There’s around 16 employees, mostly part-time, including our shop mechanics, coordinators for our community programmes, and office staff who keep busy making sure everything is rolling smoothly behind the scenes. We also have around 150 volunteers who give a huge amount of time and energy to get bicycles ready for our community programmes. Most of our volunteers are keen to get their hands dirty in the workshop, but we also have some fantastic volunteer support in the office, helping the business of the Co-op tick over. Oh – and all our directors are volunteers as well!

Where do staff typically come from?  Do you take them on as trained mechanics or are they learning on the job?

Many of the mechanics, and office staff, who are now employed at the Project started out as volunteers. We’re really keen to support people who want to build their skills, and volunteering with us is a really great way to get that training. Many volunteers actually say how getting involved in the Project helped them to realise that they want to pursue a career as a bike mechanic and have gone on to get jobs either at the Project or other bike shops in Bristol. It’s amazing to see people develop in this way! We don’t offer any formal training or apprenticeship schemes at the moment, but it’s something we’re keen to look at in the future.

Does a job at BBP tend to be a start point for people wanting to move onwards in the cycling industry, like an apprenticeship type model?

Yes, a number of our volunteers have started out learning here, and have gone on to work in great independent bike shops in Bristol like Jakes Bikes, Bike Workshop, Roll Quick and Bool’s Bicycles. Some also get jobs with us, or learn elsewhere and then come to work for us. I think being mechanic here is quite different from other bike shops – you’re working not to make a profit for the business, but to support our community programmes which help people with less money get out on two wheels as well. We’re also a Co-op, so everyone – yes, even the mechanics! – get stuck in with the wider business of the Project, like designing our community programmes, training volunteers and providing general support to the wider BBP community. 

How is BBP funded, is it possible to generate any surplus with a model like this?  What happens to any profits?

We fund ourselves for the most part through our busy bicycle shop, where we sell refurbished second-hand bikes, and do all the usual bike shop stuff like repairs and services. It’s always been the priority to make our own money where possible, so that we’re resilient and not reliant on grants. We also get some grant money and have a successful Earn-a-Bike Supporters’ Scheme – we’re really grateful for all the donors, funders and customers who support us, ensuring we can continue to be here for our community.

We’re a Community Interest Community, so all our profits are reinvested in our community programmes. We are able to generate surplus, which is really important in safeguarding the Project against any big expenses things that might come up – like our move this year!

We understand a move is on the cards, for any potential landlords out there, maybe you could tell us what you are looking for?

Yes, we’re really sad to be leaving our lovely home at Hamilton House, but the time has come to move onto pastures new. We are looking for suitable spaces anywhere in Bristol – somewhere accessible, reasonably central and affordable. To give you an idea on size, we currently have about 1500 sq ft inside for our shop and community workshop, and a further 900 sq ft externally for bike storage. We’d love to find a bigger space if we can, but we’re flexible and willing to be creative! We don’t have a clear idea of when our landlords want us out, but it could be as soon as February 2019 so we are looking for somewhere as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition.

We know your efforts have been recognised with a few awards over the years but we understand that 2018 landed a biggie with the National Community Group Award – tell us more.

We were pretty thrilled when one of our former Earn-a-Bikers, Essam – popped in a few months back to tell us he’d nominated us for MTM’s community group award, which celebrates the the excellence & achievements of Asian, Black & Ethnic Minorities. We were even more thrilled when we were announced as the winners! There’s so many organisations doing such wonderful work in Bristol, so it’s a real honour to be named for an award like this!


We’re looking for a new Project Coordinator to join our team!

The Bristol Bike Project is looking for a new Project Coordinator! This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of one of the UK’s most successful community bike projects, and to help take our Co-op forward as we enter our tenth year!

The position is 4 days/week and the main responsibilities are:

  • Support and develop our volunteers, and members
  • Develop and implement our HR policies and practices
  • Support our fundraising and trading work
  • Oversee the development and maintenance of the workshop
  • Office admin

 

Please see here for more details on the role description and how to apply. Deadline 9am on Monday 4 February.


BBP wins the MTM Community Group Award!

Our Freedom of Movement Coordinator Jo Hellier, along with Alice (from Bristol Refugee Rights), Essam, Soad and Shafi – some of our Earn-a-Bikers – at the MTM awards ceremony last month. MTM is ‘the premier Asian, Black & Ethnic Minorities event in the South West.  It’s fabulous to have received this award as recognition for the work that the Project does in our community.


Help The Bristol Bike Project find a home!

We are launching a public campaign to help us secure new premises, and we need YOUR help!

When we started 10 years ago, we made our home at Hamilton House, which has become a beacon of Bristol’s community spirit thanks to the nurturing it has received from the management company Coexist. We are extremely grateful for the amazing support they have given us over the last ten years, which has been crucial to our success as a community organisation.

Since we started in 2008, we have empowered well over 2,000 people from marginalised backgrounds to become independently mobile in the city through access to affordable and sustainable transport. We are now home to a diverse community of over 170 volunteers and Co-op members who are supported to develop lifelong bike mechanic skills, build friendships and have contact with positive role models. And we work with over 60 organisations across Bristol, including Bristol Refugee Rights, Bristol Drugs Project and Second Step, to support some of the city’s most marginalised communities.

However, as many of you know, Coexist have been forced to leave Hamilton House at the end of the year. We have also been told we will need to find a new home some time in 2019.

We are incredibly sad that we will no longer be a part of the Coexist family here at Hamilton House, but we have to see this change as an opportunity to grow the Project and boost our social impact. The Project has gone from strength to strength, and we are proud to operate a thriving community workshop and a busy bike shop. We are determined to keep serving our local community by providing bikes and mechanic skills to those who need them most, but we need all the help we can get to make sure we find the best place to do this!

We are looking for suitable spaces anywhere in Bristol – we are flexible in our requirements, but need somewhere accessible, reasonably central and affordable. We are not sure yet when we will have to leave Hamilton House, but it could be as soon as February 2019 so we are looking for somewhere as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition.

Please help us to spread the word far and wide, and if you know of anywhere or anyone that can help, get in touch on hello@thebristolbikeproject.org

 

Space requirements

Currently our shop and community workshop each occupy approx 750 sq ft (1500 sq ft in total), with approx 900 sq ft externally for bike storage. We are flexible and willing to be creative with space, for example seeking separate spaces fo the shop and community workshop) but wouldn’t want to constrain our social impact or ability to generate revenue with too small a space.


✨🌲 December Deals!! 🌲✨

‘Tis the season to be jolly and we’re hoping to add some sparkle to your Christmas shopping with some dazzling deals from our shop!

Don’t bother with the high street. Save time and money by getting all your presents from us. Your cycling pals will think you’re a hero, and the money you spend will support our work getting more people out on two wheels.

Here’s what deals we’ve got in store…

BBP merch bundle – £20 (usually £24)

BBP tee & cycling cap (mechanics not included!)

*Tees come in women’s slim fit or universal: S, M, L & XL

Basic bicycle maintenance bundle – £23 (usually £29)

For all the essential on-the-go repairs: Lezyne Rap-6 multitoolTruflo hand pump, puncture repair kit and tyre levers.

Advanced bicycle maintenance bundle– £50 (RRP £61)

All you need to keep your ride running smoothly: Lezyne Blox-23 multitool and hand pump, puncture repair kit and tyre levers

 

 

Wheeelie great gifts with bells on! 🔔

As well as those top deals, here’s some more great gift ideas from The Bristol Bike Project shop.

Bicycle maintenance course vouchers:£30 – £60

What greater present than the gift of knowledge! Learn great skills and save money by building self-sufficiency in bicycle mechanics. Afterwards, you can tell the lucky recipient to make use of our drop-in workshops to keep their bike on the road with their knew found skills.

We currently run two maintenance courses with tip top reviews! A Bicycle Basic Introductory Course and an Intensive Practical Course.

Lock & light bundles

Ever bought your bicycle a Christmas present? No, didn’t think so. And just think of the gift it gives to you every day with the joy of free, fast and fun travel! So why not give your bicycle a gift this Christmas by keeping it safe and sound with one of our lock and light bundles?

The essential set offers a sturdy Onguard lock and ETC lights for just £29 (usually £33)

Or show your trusty steed just how much you love it and invest in one of our advanced bundles with a Kryptonite lock and Lezyne USB rechargeable lights (this one’s good for the planet too!) for just £66 (usually £73)

How to Build a Bike, by Jenni Gwiazdowski 

Jenni is the founder of the London Bike Kitchen, an education space that encourages people to fix and build their own bikes. Her foray into book writing has seen her publish this brilliantly demystifying book – the complete guide to building your own ride! As a special treat this December, we’re selling them for £12 (usually £15)!