A Brief History
The Bristol Bike Project came into being in December of 2008 after project founders James Lucas and Colin Fan were inspired to set up a charitable bike project while cycling their way through Scandanavia (pictured above). James was volunteering with Bristol Refugee Rights and began to understand the importance and need for disadvantaged and marginalised people to be independently mobile in our city. With ridiculously over-priced bus fares and our even more ridiculous reliance on the oil industry to fuel our cars, bicycles make perfect sense for navigating and living in an urban environment.
Posters were put up asking for unwanted bikes and within a few days, they started coming in, filling up our bedrooms and garden spaces; we had no idea that unwanted/unused bicycles were such a huge resource! We quickly outgrew our simple workshop in an old horse stable on the outskirts of Bristol and our back garden (pictured below) and so moved into our current workshop space in Hamilton House in Stokes Croft in April 2009.
The project has evolved massively in the time since and at the start of 2011, we expanded our workshop space, registered ourselves as a Community Interest Company (see How we Roll for more information) and expanded the trading arm of the project in order to become a self-sustainable social enterprise.
We now work with an ever-growing cross-section of underprivileged and marginalised groups in Bristol, including those within the mental health sector, the homeless, recovering substance-abusers, and detached youth groups, and take referrals from over 50 organisations in and around Bristol. The project is also open to the general public, through volunteering, our weekly bike kitchen, women’s night and maintenance courses.
A huge thank you to everyone that has supported the project this far and continues to do so!