It is not going to work.
We could bore you with endless statistics. We could then proceed with some numbers and facts. And then possibly some case studies. We could follow it with an endless list of people and projects we helped. Or just quote the feedback we received. We could complain about the long hours. Or shout about the impact we have made on some folk’s lives. But we will not…
David woke up one day with a dream; call it a vision. A dream that not many understood and certainly not many believed in. He then persevered to make it come true. The Bikes College has started on that day; a small idea that took over David’s life. He has heard it all: ‘it is not going to work‘ followed by ‘are you mad‘ and often accompanied by ‘are you kidding me‘… Now to save you from a lot of jargon and boring detail let us fast forward to April 2017. Today is the 1st anniversary of the TBC shop opening on Copley Hill in Leeds. It has been 12 months which is 52 weeks which is 365 days which is 8760 hours of David’s life committed to something that according to many others had no chance of existing. This is history; still in making.
We have turned over almost 2000 bikes. Yes that is two thousand bikes since we opened our doors; that is on average 39 bicycles every week. We sold some to ensure that we can do what we do with absolutely no financial support from anyone- we still do not receive funding, we still do not ask for grants, we still do not rely on donations. We dismantled some of the above to ensure that our spare parts room is full of shiny bits to make your bikes run smooth. We gave some to different projects in Leeds and beyond to ensure that they can do even more. We also gave some away to ensure that anyone can get a bike without the need to ask for one should they feel no need to do so. And every time we created non salvageable ferrous waste we gave it away to the local small businesses free of charge to ensure that our rubbish can become someone else’s treasure. That is how we started after all…
The journey that you have witnessed is just a beginning and we will grow bigger and bigger; we promise! But we recognise and appreciate some help and support without which David’s dream would have never materialised. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Amelia D.- thank you for joining TBC and thank you for reminding David what is important at the most crucial moments
- Janice F.- thank your for this life changing chat and a cup of Earl Grey in the middle of Bramley a few years ago, and for bringing Ed W. too
- Ed W.- thank you for bringing ideas together and brain storming them to explain the bigger picture
- Kev and Sylvie- thank you for the inspiration and the positive vibes that transformed some dark energy into something so powerful that it still surprises David even after all these years
- everyone at The Bristol Bike Project- we salute you guys for you have laid the foundations for TBC
- Nick from The Bristol Pedal Revolution- thank you for the endless chitchat and the wacky ideas
- Harvey from The Bike Bunker- thank you for showing David what is important in life
- the Leeds City Council- thank you for everything for without you guys this would have never flourished as much
- Roger F.- thank you for your help and support, and for your invaluable advice
- John P.- thank you for your help and support (and all these contacts you have)
- The Pedallers’ Arms- thank you for opening a few doors that have led to the conception of TBC
- Bike Mill- thank you for supporting the same cause and making Leeds the cycling capital of the North
- Tom and Edna M.- for pointing out how unique David’s idea was
- Ruth D.- thank you for bringing ideas together and painting even bigger picture
- Marek S.- for invaluable bespoke business advice
- Raitis- thank you for keeping the fleet running
- Conor W.- thank you for another point of view and invaluable advice
- Pip B.- thank you for everything (period)
…this is just a beginning!
A single day is enough to make us a little larger or, another time, a little smaller.
There are times at which one falls behind with all their plans and the will to progress by any means necessary. Things get omitted, things get put aside, things get re-prioritised… There are also times when these things get dug up and our lives are regaining so much momentum so we can simply thrive again.
2017 has already been a year of transformation and some amazing changes. It is almost the end of March but what a few weeks that was. We have secured some amazing collaborations, we have also discovered some new ones; we got in touch with some old friends and we made some new ones. We get busier and busier as days go by.
We were branded ‘the only reliable and reputable’ second hand bike shop in Leeds (thank you Mr T.W.) and a few people mentioned us when ‘the places to go for repairs’ were mentioned. This is on the brink of the first 12 months since we have opened our door. The fame of The Bikes College is spreading, and it is spreading fast.
Thus to waste no further time we would like you to accept our deepest appreciation for what you have done for us guys for it is you that make us better; one day at a time. We salute you and this is all owed to you. Chapeau guys!
“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it.”
We have started our journey a few years back in Bristol as a small project with a huge vision. It took us almost 5 years to come to what we are now. We have started dreaming about our own small space to fill it up with our huge vision shortly after. It took us almost 3 years to find the space we wanted.
Now we are happy to announce that The Bikes College has settled down in Leeds in our new premises. It is a building that we have taken under our wings in attempt to turn it into what used to be a dream. Now it has become a reality and we cannot be more happy for that.
The Bikes College CIC is now open daily on Copley Hill, Leeds, LS12. Come by and say hello. Bring your bike too as in bikes we trust.
Life is all about just being a good person and helping others.
It never gets quiet here. We are constantly busy. If we are not building a bike we are repairing another; if we are done with mending we get busy with something else. But always to do with bikes; that is the way we do it.
We had an amazing opportunity to be a part of a local community centre’s fun day this weekend. We set up a small stall where we welcomed anyone from a fair amount of visitors to get their bikes checked for free; it is like a drop in Dr Bike station- you bring your patient and we do the magic to heal it in no time…
As a result of this amazing day we met a few people who we simply did not know existed; we spoke to local PCSO’s, local police officers, local councillors and a few others. Most importantly we spoke to a few local residents that simply were not aware of our existence despite living literally a stone’s throw from the famous The Bikes College shed. As a result we have given away plenty of leaflets and flyers, we have fixed a few bikes, we have had a few donations and we discussed and most importantly have commenced an amazing partnership. That partnership will create a space where anyone can come down and repair their bikes and learn how to do it for free; does it sound familiar? That is all we do here at TBC- we fix, mend, repair and teach how to do it too.
Starting from September there will be a bike repair space in Moorside TARA Community Centre, manned by TBC, fixing and teaching how to fix. We have finally secured the space that we were looking for for so long. It came as a surprise and we appreciate everyone involved in the birth of our ideal space.
Thank you Bev and Daniel- you are the ones who simply reached out and spotted an opportunity to support us. The most amazing thanks go to the number of others involved- you know who you are and we salute you!
The Bikes College is growing as ever. Let’s talk bikes.
…there is no such a thing like free…
We have had a busy time at The Bikes College in the last few weeks. We had a few interesting conversations that can lead to more good things- keep your eyes peeled so you can be upto date.
Some new faces appeared in our workshop; some old faces returned to our workshop. The bicycles are in and out of the workshop keeping us busy at all times. We also started teaching kids how to ride bicycles too. As you can tell we have been busy…
J. and S. have visited us recently too.
S.’s bike suddenly gave in and he simply needed a ride so we built this bike with him within a couple of hours so he can carry on riding. J. on the other hand has had a chance to get a new bike which went missing shortly after. It was also found within couple of days which is amazing. It appeared that people responsible for theft were not strangers either. Since then he invested in a good quality D-lock that we provided for approximately half of the high street price.
J. is one of these who pay attention; he learns and he is keen to teach too. he helps out on a regular basis and we are glad we can work together. We also worked on his other bike- a beloved MTB bike that needs new tyres occasionally. J. has received a Continental Baron tyre from us so he can try it out on some serious trails.
These two are identified with TBC around our closest area. They are helpful; they learn; they teach. Although they do not qualify to be one of our directors they surely deserve it and we would like to welcome them to our board as soon as they turn 16. Individuals like these two are what drives us to remain productive; people like them are we believe capable of changing the way the future generation looks at the world around them. They do understand the issues surrounding them and they are working towards the change. They recognise the impact of crime; they see the education gap; they understand different needs; they go riding (with us sometimes too); they look after and help maintain riding trails in the area; they address issues accordingly and they never stop to learn. When we look at them we realise that what we do is working and it is working well…
That is why we do not plan on stopping any time soon.
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
So many people responded to our correspondence; so many people are willing to give up their time to meet and talk to us; so many people are simply lending a helping hand…
There are a number of bodies and individuals that provided priceless help and continue to do so. These people and their time are highly appreciated and without them we would simply not be where we are at the moment.
We would like to thank following authorities, bodies and people behind them (this list is constantly growing and we appreciate support of some who might not have made it to the list yet):
All the above and their staff hold a significant part of our success and with their outstanding support we will grow bigger and better. We promise.
From time to time The Bikes College idles to its quiet but busy mode. We get distracted from anything else but work with what we do. We finally are able to share one of the most important news that we ourselves were awaiting with soon-to-be understood anticipation.
The Bikes College is an officially registered social enterprise and now we finally established a legal structure we will go even further. Keep your eyes and ears open as you will be hearing about us more and more often.
Well done to everyone involved and thank you for your help.
You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments or publicity.
Times are always difficult for projects like ours- the austerity measures all across the most important fields to spend more on trivialities- it gets difficult to keep up the good work and stay enthusiastic.
But what gets us going is the same that makes us smile everytime someone leaves the workshop with a grin on their face. That feeling of being appreciated for what we do- not why, not for how much, not who for- it is WHAT we do that gets us going. It delivers the same pleasure every time- it never fails to satisfy the internal need to help the others to get something vital in life- the freedom. The freedom to travel, the freedom to discover, the freedom to learn, the freedom to share, the freedom to teach, the freedom of being free.
What is extremely heart-warming is the fact that this very feeling of satisfaction and achievement upon completion is indeed very contagious. It emanates, it lingers around, it merges with good vibes and the friendly atmosphere. And it is infectious- it spreads faster that a common cold. And it goes beyond our small team, it goes further; it goes beyond the team of our users, it goes further; it goes beyond the boundaries of Bramley, it goes further than that too. It gets so strong and so contagious that people start talking about us- rumour has it that we are getting recognised for what we do. We are getting recognised by local authorities and media. The word about the team of passionate bike fixers spreads like a fever!
We never suspected that what we do is so recognised. It fills us with pride that we can do this and we would like to thank everyone involved. We will not stop now- the future looks brighter than ever and we will grow bigger and stronger!
Advertising is the very essence of democracy.
We do our stuff all the time. Daily chores, bikes in bikes out. We rely heavily on word of mouth and recommendations. We pride ourselves in what we do as we do it on a small and local scale- we start locally to change the world globally.
But recently it occurred to us that we could do with some serious advertising so we can grow bigger and better; that is beyond the workshop expansion. We realised that people are asking about us and they want to know more. And instead of telling them to contact us on Facebook or Twitter or even WordPress we could simply give them our business card. So we ventured out and got some beauties printed…
We have already given out quite a few and we will carry on handing them out like there is no tomorrow…
Did you get one yet?