Rebuild, Refresh, Re-‘cycle!
Would you believe me if I told you that there are now an estimated 1 billion bikes in the world, compared to 1.5 billion cars? The way we live and move has changed drastically, and 2020, in particular, brought with it a boom in bike sales and cyclists as people altered their commutes and longed to get outside. This is really encouraging as it shows we are re-discovering more sustainable, cost-friendly, safe, and most of all enjoyable, ways of getting around.
The problem is, with many of us having not ridden for years, our trusty old bikes have sat and festered, or may not look quite like the shiny new models we tend to see flying around the streets. This leaves us with that all-important decision: do I just buy a new one, and what do I do with this?
While there are a growing number of initiatives for recycling bikes, the sad reality is that most people have no idea what to do with a seemingly old and broken bike, so end up just leaving it out for the bin men to collect. Did you know that around 15 million bikes end up being thrown away per year, while at the same time, every 2 seconds someone in the world buys a new one! This is no surprise, as bikes are becoming cheaper. But as with all cheap and cheerful products, they are made at low cost to the manufacturer, and high cost to the environment in the form of carbon emissions and waste material.
In the long run, buying cheap ends up a lot more expensive due to the “fast, cheap, easily breakable and replaceable” modern way. With parts on these bikes also being hard to replace, we have the beginnings of a vicious – cycle – (pardon the pun) of constant discarding and buying. So how do we counter and avoid this when the cost of fixing a bike often seems more daunting than just buying another?
Well, with projects like ours along with the government’s introduction of the ‘Fix your bike’ voucher scheme – which has been another reassuring step in the right direction – people are starting to rebuild and refresh their old models anew. Amidst us all are everyday superheroes, pulling out their old bikes, seeing an opportunity and trying their hand at fixing – and in the process pimping – their rides.
Access to our workshop means they can learn to fix their bikes themselves, saving mechanic costs and just paying for the parts they need. Not to mention the abundant customisation options that come in the form of patina and fresh parts that they can choose for themselves. As well as personalised re-sprays that you can do pretty cheaply by buying paint and following a YouTube tutorial. It really can be easier and more fun than you think to upgrade and refresh your cycle, and what better than your own personalised bike over a factory default model!
Not only does it allow you to save money and the planet, but it’s a great project that can be so satisfying to complete. Just ask our young attendees, who we often see bringing in parts they’ve found dumped and piecing them back together; you should see them boasting to their mates that “I did this”. Just imagine the impressed and awe-filled faces of your friends, colleagues and family when you get to do the same and tell them you made this bike yourself?
So, will you join the re-cycling superheroes and have a go too? Why not set a goal to fix up your bike and say that if you ride 4 times a week for 3 months, you’ll treat yourself and donate the old one to a bike recycling project? – Unless that is, you fall back in love with your own personalised update like we think you just might! – If you do decide to do this though, remember that if it’s possible for you, an investment into a slightly more expensive but better quality and the long-living bike is highly recommended both for the planet and your pockets in the long run.
At Community Cycleworks, we believe that everything, whether new or used, has value, and we want to help you rebuild, refresh and get back on your cycle. If it really can’t be spruced up though, make sure to donate the parts still in good health to initiatives such as ours and recycle the rest!