Hackney Bike Workshop is a volunteer-run bike workshop which teaches cyclists how to fix their bikes, with an emphasis on skill sharing. The workshops take place at Hackney City Farm twice monthly, and The Round Chapel, Clapton, once monthly, and aim to improve all aspects of cyclists’ experience, from riding to fixing and maintaining their bike, with a view to fostering cycling as a long-term habit in their participants.
Although the workshops are open to all, the project particularly aims to encourage women, older generations and anyone with physical problems, whether caused by riding a bicycle or not, to take up cycling.
Hackney Bike Workshop recognises that ill-fitting bikes can have serious health implications, including back pain, chronic knee problems and issues with reproductive systems. They combat this by providing a professional bike fitting service for a small voluntary donation.
L. M. (male, 35-44) was injured in a bike accident two years ago and has been experiencing discomfort while cycling ever since. "The project is very well run and they are extremely knowledgeable. I felt very comfortable and left feeling more confident with my bike setup. I will be recommending this service".
The CGL grant has allowed the group to acquire necessary training and knowledge to fit bikes to owners before health complaints arise, and so keep people cycling. Torke Cycling delivered the training, which included a bike fitting foundation course, body positioning, saddle fitting and a flexibility and functionality improvement course.
The project is also delivering bike maintenance training for women, who are traditionally under-represented in cycling and bike maintenance. The participants will be trained by female mechanics, Siobhan and Marian, who gained their skills through Hackney Bike Workshop. They are also delivering classes for organisations such as the Women’s Institute, in order to reach new audiences and encourage more women to learn how to maintain their own bikes.
By providing new skills and savings on the cost of running a bike, the project hopes to encourage people to keep on cycling rather than abandon their bikes on their balcony, or in their garden or shed. “I moved here from abroad and hadn’t brought any of my bike tools but now I can come here, use the tools and get free advice. It’s great!” – Elly, participant.
The regular drop-in maintenance workshops already attract at least 10 people in each session, with the 1-1 bike fitting service usually fully booked in advance. The group aims to reach well over 500 beneficiaries over the next three years.