All that glitters is not gold.

business, cheap, did you know, eco, friends, help, inspiration, recycle, repair

‘Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. ‘

Henry David Thoreau

We have been quiet for so long we have been asked to write up a story or two about the cycling industry perspective on pandemic and the issues that came with it.

The small proportion of the world (here: the UK) has changed overnight in March 2019. The world as we knew it has stopped and we do not believe it will be back anytime soon. We found ourselves in the middle of one of the biggest crises the world has seen since the World War. Our team had to adapt and amend their ways overnight to accommodate for that change; it is a very small team for what we do and the amount of projects we are involved with, however efficient and tight knitted it might have happened to be.

In the last 2 years we have learnt a lot about people and even more about ourselves. People, strangers and friends, have put our patience, our professionalism, our humanity, our understanding, our humbleness, our compassion and our ability to remain calm to an ultimate test. We have failed many of these tests and we learnt the hard way that we have much to improve upon.

But we also have learnt a vast number of very valuable lessons that we will remember forever. We learnt the true meaning of friendship and the true cost of supporting people who do not appreciate your help. We learnt the importance of patience, we learnt the gravity of broken promises and the joy of changing lives. We kept Leeds going; at times as the only bike shop open in Leeds, we kept NHS cycling, we kept the other essential workers moving… It is an extreme privilege to be able to say we have pulled through this together and we thank those who helped us in doing so; whether they stayed or the chose to go.

We witnessed the most iconic increase in popularity of cycling and we were a part of things that made history. The Bikes College grew to exponential size yet we still thrive to continue to do what we do best- keep you cycling and keep looking for new stars of cycling.

We worked hard to keep Leeds cycling and occasionally it did backfire. As some old saying goes ‘it is not always gold if it glitters’ we also understand the price this growth comes at. The endless days, long shifts, numerous problems and issues, supply chain delays, staffing shortages, parts shortages, worries and fears, additional stress, additional workload… We feel like the last few months put as to some ultimate test. Despite the hick ups and a few teething problems we believe we came out of it stronger, smarter and significantly more mature as an enterprise.

We continued to be not for profit, we continued a number of grass root level programmes, we preserved the low prices and continued with the highest possible quality. We also maintained our sense of humour and an overall can-do attitude.

Whatever the price was- you guys made it worth it. and for this please accept many thanks.

Here’s to another few few years!!

#smilingchainlink #tbcleeds #builtnotbought #whobuildsyourwheels #tbcjasper #tbcstemcap #tbcmudguard

Together we can do it better

business, cheap, eco, free, friends, help, learn, repair, share, social

Life is all about just being a good person and helping others.

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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.

Be a bigger one

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Everyone wants to belong, or be a part of something bigger than themselves…

Emily Giffin

This world is a strange place- as a pack animals we simply lost the skill of gathering and resolving issues using the advantage of numbers. We turn to solitarity in whatever we do these days- for reason unknown we are unable to join forces to resolve problems.

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This is a picture that shows what The Bikes College does- we join forces, we resolve issues.

This is how 4 people cooperate closely to mend and repair a simple failure. This skill is highly valuable now- interacting and cooperating to find a solution to a problem:

‘…together we work harder…’

These are the very own words of one of them- and the average age between these four is 9 years old. Together it is easier to learn as it also is easier to teach.

We began our journey as a small project that is changing the lives of these who are simply responsible for our future; however unaware they might be. These young brains are the minds that will (and already are) shaping our future; these little minds are responsible for educating the next generations. We need to emphasise to them that it is important to be smart, to be imaginative, to be open-minded, to be sufficient, to be efficient, savy and cunning in whatever we do. We made it difficult to them, we have exploited resources and broken all the ancient rules. We took advantage of something that was set up for a number of generations and destroyed it in less than a century. And now our ignorance takes its toll on us.

We need to relearn the ancient art of cooperation- we promptly must join forces to ensure the future to remain as bright as we tend to paint it for ourselves. We are exploiting our youth, teaching them how to be ignorant and lazy, how to show no interest and to expect everything for nothing, how to take things for granted. And it must change. NOW!

Be a bigger person- teach a kid something new yourself. And do it now.

In it all together?

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Many activities and team play participation will give you a training that will prove invaluable later on in life.

Walter Annenberg

It is busy at The Bikes College. People are calling from as far as Yeadon to donate bikes. Kids need bikes in Pudsey. If we were honest it got slightly overwhelming lately…

But what never changed is the impact of what we do. And we do it everyday. We are also happy to expand our standard services. We swapped bikes with few people recently- they donate theirs and we give them something more suitable or simply what they fancied more. We did that with S. recently- he was desperate for a new bike; he was helping out with J. a lot lately and we promised to keep an eye out for him.

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So when S. appeared at our door one day with a half a bike to ‘build it’ we made a deal with him- he surrenders whatever he brought (too big, half of it missing, etc.) and we will get him a BMX; 3 days later here he is- with his brand new ride. After a prompt confirmation with his parents that it is all fine to exchange we got another smiling kid. On a bike…

IMG_20140530_154449hhhhhHhhHere is (from right) S., J. and their friend C. C. has heard about us from J. and S. and came around a few times to fix a few minor things on his bike. He is quite obviously too big for his bike and we agreed that when we have something for him we will swap with him too- C. will be back in a couple of days (he does not know yet).

 

They keep coming back. Bringing more friends that are willing to chat, to repair, to learn, to participate. You know- after all we are all in it together, right?

Ownership makes it personal

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Nobody washes a rental car.

Scott J. Simmerman Ph. D.

It takes a lot of bonding to create a possessive relationship known as ownership. The tears, the sweat, the tiredness and the workmanship are required to achieve the end product.

Repairing or building a bike is a great example. It is a process which takes time, commitment and then some more time and commitment. Through these two we learn that love/hate relationship with our own bicycle. We love it as it is like a child of our own- we grew it, we moulded it, we made it what it is. We hate is as it gave us headaches and sleepless nights, it made us bankrupt on numerous occasions and it also jeopardised the future of our relationships with friends, partners, family and the rest of the world… That demanding love/hate relationship creates something that  no money can buy; it is something that is possible to create using only time and attachment.

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It is a difficult task to create that kind of attachment amongst the youngsters these days. The process starts when you give them something that can care for; give the man a fish saying springs into our minds again. We give them a bike- refurbished and recycled mean of transport which they need to look after and cherish like their own. It never cost them anything but that is the reason why they appreciate it so much- it is a gift, not a purchase. They learn how to look after it, how to repair it, how it works and how to know when it fails.

The journey starts when a kid gets a bicycle from us. They come over and work with us to make it safe and ready to go. They set the brakes up, they set the gears up, they repair a puncture. That gives them time to appreciate what they initially received and to look after it. This is the beginning of a journey. Within few hours one can tell if the bike someone is working on will be appreciated…

They study; they learn; they build; they appreciate; they love.

We get bigger

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I’ve got to admit it’s getting better. It’s a little better all the time.

Paul McCartney

The way we work is quite unique and we tend to surprise few people when they ask what we do. We follow different guidelines, entirely abstract vision in often a very challenging sector. We are not exactly a company and we are not exactly a charity. We work towards a social enterprise status which effectively will give us  a non-for-profit status while allowing us to reinvest our surplus back into the community.

We would work exactly the same way as the majority of businesses in the UK but our mission and vision would focus on the community which we are a part of. And that would never be possible without growing and getting better and bigger. We need to expand, be it in the range of services or in the size of our workshop. And the latter has occurred this week- we expanded our workshop by creating an outdoor space where we can teach more people how to look after their bikes- we have built an extension decking.

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We have created a space when people can stay off the grass and work on a solid surface. We have turned the handrail into a bench where people can sit and watch the others while we carry out our tuitions.

We received the wood needed to build all this as a donation form a very generous gentleman from Morley. We used our good old friends Speedy Leeds Delivery to deliver it and topped it up with our own tools, hardware and time; within 8 hours we had built the best classroom we have seen. Ever. And anywhere.

If that does not get you keen onto coming down to be a part of the project then we give up!

Get on yer bike!

eco, inspiration

“…revolution will be mobilised…”

We are surrounded by means of transport that rely on perishable resources. One who needs to travel needs to exchange their resources to obtain the means of travel. In plain English it is money that you pay for travelling by means of transport destined to collapse upon the oil reserves drying out.

measurements

You see a bicycle is different. It gives you the only chance to be independent and as transport savy as one can get. It also does not leave you addicted to consumable resources that you cannot replace. It gets you mobile regardless of the political or economical state of affairs. It also gets you smiling and keeps you physically active and fit. When the bad times come you can turn the broken/malfunctioned/faulty bicycle into a smoothly running machine using only handfull of tools and a bit of maintenance knowledge. When the bicycle gives in entirely you can find places that will accept it as a donation and refurbish it to pass it onto the next lucky owner; just like we do.

You see a bicycle is different. Ironically it brings people together despite the fact it is not a form of public transport. It gets people mobile and happy. It supports the transport and mindset revolution that is happening all around the world. You see a bicycle is different- it mobilises that revolution. Hop on your bike and be a part of the mobilised revolution.