Bike Back Bristol is an innovative bicycle refurbishment project run by Life Cycle, in partnership with HMP Bristol and funded by The Big Lottery Fund.
How it works:
Life Cycle takes donations of unwanted bicycles from the public and takes them to Bristol Prison, where with the help of prisoners we strip down, clean and refit them giving them a new lease of life. Experienced mechanics work with prisoners teaching them mechanical skills and helping them to refurbish bikes to a high standard.
Once fixed the bikes are sold at affordable prices with the intention of helping Bristolians on lower incomes to get a bike and start cycling.
As well as reducing the flow of bikes to landfill, and giving new life to old bikes, the project provides productive employment, training and qualifications for prisoners. Ultimately, we hope that some prisoners will learn sufficient skills and gain enough experience that they can gain employment as mechanics on release, helping to reduce re-offending in the future.
The project was started with the support of Bristol City Council's Cycling City programme. After a hugely successful initial period, Life Cycle has now secured over £300,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to enable the scheme to continue. The Big Lottery Fund's funding will be spread over 5 years, giving the scheme long-term security and ensuring an ongoing supply of refurbished bikes for Bristol. Gethin Jones, visiting the project for a feature on the BBC's 'Crime and Punishment' series, commented:
"I was really impressed by the work of Life Cycle UK at HMP Bristol. Sometimes we're quick to judge people in prison, but for some, they've not coped with the cards they've been dealt with. The inmates I met were keen to have a positive impact on society when they were released, they were working hard and seem to welcome the chance of learning a new skill - which is exactly what they were doing at the Life Cycle workshop. I have no doubt that Life Cycle UK will continue to change the lives of many, for the better."
We urgently need donations of unwanted bikes. If you have an unwanted bike you no longer ride, then please consider giving it to us.
We hold occasional bike sales in Bristol City Centre. If you are on a low-income, want to start cycling and need an affordable bike, then come along to our next sale.
"I just bought a bike from your sale which i am so thrilled with. It's like you had my dream bike there waiting for me! I just wanted to let you know that all the staff and volunteers there were really really wonderful and are a real asset to your organisation." - Beth
We are currently looking for volunteer bike mechanics who can give up half a day a week on a regular basis to help with our bike recycling project at Bristol Prison. Click here to download an information sheet and if you are interested in getting involved, fill out this short application form.
We can offer partner organisations in Bristol who work with individuals on very low incomes access to low-cost bikes for their clients outside of our regular sales. Find out more or express an interest in becoming a partner organisation here.