Access Bike builds, reclaims, recycles and rehomes bikes, but why is that the least important thing about them?
We chatted with Alfie, Elliott, Emlyn and Cai. For them, Access Bike is about people and values, about community. Their Stroudishness is a huge influence.
Alfie: “What we offer is more about inclusivity and personal development than it is about fixing and selling bikes. The personal connection between people is what we focus on here.”
They’re inspired by Stroud’s craft traditions, but also its history as a place where people think and dream differently.
Alfie: “This version of a bike shop where we recycle, and teach people, and everything’s achievable and we work as a team, is a really futuristic, successful way of running things. Everything here is donated, it’s all people’s junk. We’ve built a successful community project out of junk. That’s quite nice.”
Visitors are as likely to earn a bike by volunteering as they are to buy one. Access Bike involve as many people as possible, providing opportunities to learn and try out ideas.
Alfie: “We make chandeliers from old bike wheels, belts from old tyres, necklaces out of old chains, and it keeps going. We take part in Chalfest, running a smoothie bike – pedal-powered blender – as a stall. Jump on the bike and pedal and it blends your fruit into a smoothie. It’s one of our proudest makes.”
Their energy, attitude and innovation has won them substantial recognition, including Stroud Town Council’s community project of the year when they were just 8 months old, but it’s always about people.
Alfie: “We support people who are far from work and help bring them some life skills, build their confidence to go onto the next step, and get out and get more involved and active in the community. We want to run a mentoring program that’s supporting people who are maybe from a less advantaged background.”
Reaching people is what they do best of all.
Alfie: “In the workshop a couple of weeks ago we had someone from every school in Stroud district – that was pretty tremendous. People make an effort to come and find us.”
Emlyn: “A big part of it, being a community project, is you have the space to socialise as well as fix bikes. And yeah, help the planet and have fun doing it.”
Access Bike, Fromehall Mill, Stroud
(just off the canal). www.accessbike.org
Open: Tue, Wed & Thu, 12-6. Do drop in!