Christchurch has two community bike workshops – ICECycles & RAD Bikes. Both have been doing great work over 2015, contributing thousands of volunteer hours to the community and here is an update on what has been happening.
Moving our base to the Phillipstown Community Hub and building some racks for storing wheels, tyres & bikes. Removing pedals & turning handlebars meant we could stack a lot more bikes in and avoid a nightmare of tangled parts in heaps on the floor.
Fixing up 156 bikes over our 6 workshops held at different locations in central/eastern Christchurch communities.
Restoring and giving away 117 bikes to people who could not afford a bike and did not have ability to restore their own. They were often referred by a case worker from various social service agencies.
Assisting Bikes for Madagascar to collect 400 bikes which will be restored and used by community workers in Madagascar.
Small funding grants have been received from Piko Wholefood Trust and Rotary. Some of our happy customers can afford donations, and the odd upmarket bike is sold, which all adds up to cover the few thousand dollars of costs for new parts & replacement tools we require to operate.
A new smoothie bike was created with the blender at the front so the pedaller can see what is going on.
A 5m long banner trailer was constructed to display our ICECycles banner for events like the climate change parade & Santa parade and to park outside our community workshops.
2016 will be mostly the same, with the possible addition of running some bike maintenance tutorials through Hagley Community College later in the year. We did explore the possibility of making three wheeler bikes for people with balance problems out of our reject frames, and the prototype was great fun to ride with two steering wheels at the front, but the market for them was not very enthusiastic, so would be hard to cover the costs of production. A worthwhile project if you have time & welding skills though.
Christchurch RAD BIKES by Jess Smale
RAD BIKES (RECYCLE A DUNGER) is a not-for-profit community bike shed in central Christchurch. RAD was begun in 2013, and continues to run regular open sessions twice a week. An audit of RAD activities from April-Oct 2015 found it had served 1300+ patrons, exchanged 920+ bikes/parts, and contributed 1700+ volunteer hours to the community.
The shed’s general operations are solely run by volunteers and donations. Funding is sourced to employ one part-time coordinator that ensure everything ticks along and everyone is happy (currently provided by Christchurch City Council). In 2015, RAD also created its own After-schools Programme, Volunteer Upskilling Sessions, and Waste Minimisation Report, as well as continuing to fix bikes for local charities. RAD received funding from Sustainable Initiatives Fund Trust (SIFT) to initiate the After-schools Programme & produce the Waste Minimisation Report.
The After-schools Program aims to show kids that volunteering, recycling, cycling and helping others are all fun and cool. Groups of 6-8 students come weekly over one school term, and get to design and build their own rideable contraption. Students learn loads of bike maintenance and building skills along the way, while learning to work with and learn from others, gaining confidence to try new things and ask questions.
The Waste Minimisation Report aims to assess RAD Bikes’ waste minimisation impact, and identify future opportunities. As part of this RAD researched CHCH / NZ bike culture, analysed the reuse / waste streams at RAD and other bike kitchens, investigated its relationships with other organisations, and researched the bicycle industry in New Zealand / retail stores’ perspectives on waste. This document is receiving its final edits and RAD looks forward to sharing their findings with everyone soon.
In 2016, RAD plans to instigate Women’s Courses, Public Charity Fix Ups & Cycle Powered Cinema Events, as well as more After-schools Programs, Volunteer Upskilling, and implementing the findings of the Waste Minimisation Report. That should keep us busy!