We understand death only after it has placed its hands on someone we love.
Anne L. de Stael
Come and join us for a memorial ride to Kirkstall Road. We will gather starting from 5pm to leave the shop on Copley Hill about 545pm. The plan is to get the Critical Mass gathering for 6pm and let them join us on the memorial ride to pay our respects to the fallen John Harkins who tragically lost his life in the Kirkstall Road tragedy on 14th November 2016. Invite whoever you believe might be interested and spread the word please. We plan to be at the scene of the accident about 630pm. Have no bike? Come and join us on foot.
1. The police has been in touch now and they are aware of the ride- we discussed the implications of the large gathering and the potential (although still unintended) disturbance to the traffic in the area. I am awaiting further instructions and additional comments and/or arrangements from the senior officer of the local police. Their support and/or assistance will be discussed further too. I will update following a meeting with them in the shop which has been planned for before the ride.
2. The local media have been in touch and expressed their will to provide coverage- they were instructed to be as little invasive as possible (it is not a publicity stunt- it is a memorial ride after all). They will pay us a visit in the shop prior to the ride and I will update should anything change.
3. We have a few groups coming together and cycling towards the central meeting point at the Museum steps where the ride will join with the Critical Mass- the ride itself is not a feeder ride- if the CM wishes to join us we are riding towards their starting point for this very reason- as of yet no contact was made by CM and from what I was told there was no confirmation of their involvement (hopefully as of yet).
4. The route discussed with the police is to involve roads with 2 lanes of traffic to ensure the least disturbance possible. Due to no confirmation of support as of yet (therefore for planning reasons it has been assumed there would be no support at all) we will refrain from going onto single lane roads where possible. The proposed route is: Millenium Square to Rossington St to Woodhouse Ln to Albion St to Headrow to Westgate to Kirsktall Rd. We were instructed to obey the road signs and road rules or we will be stopped and the ride will have to discontinue.
5. The family of John’s is aware of the ride and we would like to make sure they do not witness any misbehave and they remember this as a tribute the cycling community of Leeds and beyond paid to a fellow fallen rider. We expressed our deepest condolences and we invited them to join us should they feel fine to do so. There is no confirmation of their appearance as of yet but please remember that they might be there guys- let’s stay civil and considerate.
6. The Aviators Cheer group was contacted too- they were also invited to join us although no official confirmation was received as of yet- once again this is a group of the very closest friends and colleagues of John’s- bear that in mind and again let’s stay civil and considerate.
7. There are some rumours of a few rider groups visiting from outside Leeds- no official confirmation as of yet so please bear with me on that. Should that happen let’s lead by example and considering all of the above let’s make this the bike ride that John would be proud of.
8. The general rules of cycling en masse will apply too guys- the weakest, the slowest, the most vulnerable riders are to be protected by those with the most experience. We are expecting kids and adults cyclists, and there are also a few pedestrians that will meet us there. Let’s stay safe, by any means necessary.
This is a follow up of a tragic accident, let’s not add to the drama. Let’s be nice, let’s be civil, let’s stay safe.
Yours truly #tbcleeds.
Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.Thomas S. Monson
Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.
J. K. Rowling ‘Harry Potter and the Sourcerer’s Stone’
Dear thieves and dodgy individuals,
We, at The Bikes College, would like to officially thank you for your generous input into the lives of all the common folk. We salute you for robbing the kids of their bikes. We take our hats in front of you for stealing from the town and city centres. We bow in half in front of you for getting your greasy fingers on the hard worked for wheels of the working folk. We salute you. For you keep us busy. For you create the void that we can fill. For you deliver the overwhelming tragedy and heartbreaking discoveries. We salute you.
The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.
It sometimes occurs to us suddenly that we have undertaken the most difficult job around. We are willing to make sure that kids surrounding us feel motivated to learn and to do things that noone has ever told them are possible. When one gets faced by a problem one faces a choice- a puzzling dilemma between the creativity and procrastination. We get surrounded by local kids on a regular basis- kids with simple problems with their bikes; there are punctures, worn tyres, broken brakes; there are boys, girls, children and kids.
There is one special kid, a boy aged 7, who managed to learn to ride his bike properly less than 2 years ago. He went on a long journey from a small bike with stabilisers to a geared mountain bicycle. And a BMX should he fancy a simpler ride. His name is Luka and he constantly stays around. He watches and he learns. He learns to ride every day. But what he learnt without us noticing is to watch and remember. A few days ago a couple of local teens came along; older than Luka and visiting us regularly too; they had a puncture.
Luka took initiative; he put whatever he has learnt to use immediately; he taught too; he explained and showed the techniques. He knew specific spanner size for the wheel nuts, he knew how to check for punctures and how to repair it. We realise that Luka was watching- he has taken notes and he has put to use all that he has learnt. He is constantly around. And he never stops learning.
My name is David and I am one of the co-founders of The Bikes College. Luka is my son.
The average family earning minimum wage spends 141 percent of their income struggling to meet basic needs – food, shelter, clothing.
We met Labbonti today. He was a bit late but he said that he has had a busy night last night. We patiently listened to his story. He lived in Wales in a flat belonging to his sister. She passed away and he, unable to meet the financial expectations, had to leave. He came to Leeds a while a go and slept rough since. We met him today but we already met before too.
His person, especially the state of his bike, was brought to our attention by a message on our social media page. A random passer-by was touched and brought to tears by his bicycle. We browsed the area to meet him and arrange the meet up. When we met him his bike was indeed in a bit of a state…
We talked to him and arranged for the weekend visit to make his ride ride again. His front wheel did not have a tyre on. Nor an inner tube. The brakes did not work, the brake pads were missing, gears did not work, cables and outers were broken. The bottom bracket and the headset were all over the place as well. The bike was a death trap.
Labbonti met us exactly where and when agreed. He came on his bike; you could hear him from the distance- the front rim making the metal grinding against the tarmac sound. We replaced the front wheel, put an inner tube on, put a tyre on, fixed his brakes, adjusted gears, replaced the outers and cables, tightened the bottom bracket, tightened the handlebars, tightened the saddle, tightened the seatpost… All this for a fist pump. And a massive smile.
When he rode away we saw him grinning like a kid, swerving from one side to another, keeping his feet off the pedals… He enjoyed his bike. He acted like we all did at once- that day when we received a new bike- he enjoyed the ability to travel freely, the happiness, the wind in the hair…
You see this is the time when you give someone something more than a bicycle.
We gave him freedom…
…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.
Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
Leeds is such a big place. It is mentioned as a capital of the North on numerous occasions. With every great story comes an untold tale of things that often get omitted by the mainstream media: the social isolation, the lack of access to alternative transport, transport dependence, etc.
On Saturday 28th June we had a pleasure to be a part of a Swinnow Family Fun Day where we set up our tent and provided bicycle check up service for anyone who felt their bike needed some TLC. The turn out was amazing and we are glad to announce that we serviced almost a dozen of bikes, we replaced a couple of cables, adjusted a few brakes, discussed the tyre pressure on a few occasions and even explained the basic physics behind the bearings once. We discovered exactly the same problems occur wherever we go- the bikes are neglected, the brakes are too spongy, tyres are bold, the bottom brackets are loose… What we are currently discussing with our constantly growing list of friends are opportunities to deliver our services to the wider audience- we want to teach everyone how to look after their bikes.
What we also did during this amazing day was raffling the donated Kona Hahanna. It was won by Louise from Leeds who bought a lucky pink 38 ticket.
This is how we respond to all these untold stories- this is the only way we can address the issues we mentioned. By actions. Nothing else.
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):
- Leeds City Council
- Voluntary Action Leeds
- Speedy Leeds Delivery
- Aurelius Cycles
- Elland Road Police Station
- Bramley Housing Office
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.
Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.
It appears that The Bikes College must be doing some things right as we teach some new things these days. We met T., 6 years old, and her parents a few weeks ago when they collected one of our bikes. T. was able to ride but seemed extremely stressed and unable to focus to ride long distances. Upcoming Beavers bicycle riding test was not going to be an easy ride.
T.’s parents got in touch with The Bikes College to seek help in making T. much confident and comfortable on her bike. We met T. and her dad in a local park with hills, paved paths, tight turns, trees slalom, grass ditches, cobble stones and plenty other obstacles. She was not confident enough to ride without close supervision on anything but grass and in straight lines preferably. And within an hour…
T. was able to ride comfortably; following a few simple but important pieces of advice she flew through the trees slalom like a champ. You can see her amazing work in this short video on our channel.
It is important that we give our little riders time, attention and a few little tips so they can become independent riders clocking their first yards with confidence and comfort.
It is important to start well as riding a bike is like… well… riding a bike. Once you learn you will never forget it.