News



By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 18:30

Meet Sulayman (left) and Ebrima (right), the two Wonder Years Centre of Excellence​ mechanics from the latest Times Appeal story. Our African programmes manager Jason recently gave them a visit, providing training and helping them improve their workshop:

“The guys were working on the floor out of toolboxes. They had to rummage to find what they wanted. Sometimes they’d spend 30mins looking for a spanner. Visitors would also help themselves to tools, and a few had gone missing. I showed them examples of other workshops in Africa and they immediately understood the benefits of a shadow board - you knew where everything was, you could access it quickly, and you could check it was all accounted for at any time during the day." 

Sulayman and Ebrima Working on the new workshop shadow board.

"We swept out the floor space and removed all the junk that was lying around. We moved the chairs and tables outside under a tree - giving visitors a place to smoke and drink tea so as they wouldn’t disturb the mechanics (it’s a very sociable workshop). The guys laid out the toolboard just as they wanted it (you can never have enough pliers) and I introduced a few new tools and replaced some that were missing.

After an assessment of the guys’ technical abilities, we got stuck into some training. They both desperately wanted to learn how to lace wheels (pictured top), which is something UK mechanics learn very late in their apprenticeships, but much more urgent in Africa!"

This is Adam. He’s comes every morning before school to help out around the workshop. Sulayman has even taken him on as an apprentice!

"We’re hoping to secure funding to move WYCE into a permanent workshop early next year. There’re a lot of bicycles in Madina Salam, and the workshop gets lots of visitors! Having the guys improve their temporary setup should get them thinking a little more about how they want their next workshop to be!” 

Help us change lives with bicycles by making a donation to The Times Christmas Appeal - for every £ you donate, our generous supporters will match it.

Donate Now




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Fri, 04/12/2015 - 16:41

The first in a series of powerful editorials and first person accounts featuring the work of Re~Cycle and our project partners went to press as part of The Times Christmas Appeal today. Times journalists reveal how Glad’s House support children living on the streets and rubbish tips of Mombasa, and how Re~Cycle bikes make it all possible.

READ THE STORY




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Fri, 27/11/2015 - 13:43

Hill and Ellis Good Friday

‪#‎GoodBlackFriday‬ is here. For every bag Hill & Ellis sell today - they will give you 10% off and also donate 10% to Re~Cycle. 

Hill & Ellis is a British company established in 2013 with the aim to produce handsome bike bags for discerning cyclists. The bags have all been made with the cyclist in mind and are designed to be as stylish as they are functional. 

Designed in London by cyclists who understand the ride as much as you, the range includes features like reversible reflective tabs for better night-time visibility, waterproof rain jackets for protection against the great British weather, and hidden patented pannier clips so the bags attach securely and seamlessly to the bike. But at Hill & Ellis we know that dressing for the ride is not just about the journey but also the destination, so we have created a range which looks as good on your arm as it does on the bike so you can travel from home to bike to boardroom to bar with a touch of panache.

To get your 10% off today use the code "GoodBlackFriday" at checkout: www.hillandellis.com/shop

Also: Check out their Q&A with our founder Merlin here




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Tue, 10/11/2015 - 17:19

We’ve just published our Annual Report and we have brilliant news! As we wrap up our 18th year of service, and head towards our second decade in operation, Re~Cycle has gained forward momentum and entered a period of serious expansion. 2014 has seen records from all previous years in all departments broken - with significant growth in all areas. Read the full report below!

Download re-cycle_annual_report_accounts_2014_final.pdf (4.86 MB)




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Tue, 20/10/2015 - 16:15

Re~Cycle Bike Sale 31st October

Saturday 31st October 2015 - 9am – 1pm

Roughly 1-2% of the bikes donated to Re~Cycle are either unsuitable for Africa (such as thin framed racing bikes) or are bikes with disc brakes which are parts that are not readily available in Africa and thus less likely to be usable. Instead of recycling these bikes we sell them at the local University of Essex and our warehouse in Colchester, generating a sustainable income to help cover our running costs. These bikes are sold at affordable prices starting at £75 and many of these bikes are sold to students or people just starting out as cyclists and therefore looking for a good bargain.

There will be a choice of over 60 new and refurbished bikes including Specialized, Pashley, Boardman, Raleigh and Carerra as well as a good selection of children’s bikes. We will be operating on a first come first served basis and will not be taking reservations, so please come down early if you want to grab yourself a bargain. 

Cash or card payments accepted.

Opening hours: 09:00-13:00

Location:

Re~Cycle
Unit 8 The Grove Estate
Colchester Road
Wormingford
Colchester
Essex
CO6 3AJ




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Mon, 21/09/2015 - 15:55

In February 2015 Gary Taylor, from Ipswich, set off to cycle around the world for Re~Cycle. He’s taken on this mighty challenge on his own, unsupported and adhering to the Guinness World Record rules. We caught up with Gary for an update of his most recent travels. You can support Gary by making a donation via his Virgin Money page here.

“So, I had to leave Azerbaijan in a bit of a hurry due to me being deported. Something about me failing to register my stay with the authorities. The guys at the migration office were actually pretty friendly and gave me extra time to get out because I was travelling by bike and trying to hitch a ride on a cargo ship. It didn’t really matter though, by the time my visa for Uzbekistan came through I was more than ready to leave.

When I entered Kazakhstan it was immediately obvious that I was entering a stretch of harsh desert. The roads were surprisingly good but it changed during the first full day of riding. My previous description of “your average garden centre car-park, ploughed vigorously, after a meteor shower then buried in an inch of fine, dusty sand” might have been slightly generous with hindsight. I crossed into Uzbekistan and watched in horror as the road surface actually deteriorated. I made it through twelve days in the dust and heat before I got into the first proper town, Nukus, with my bicycle and sanity just about in tact and finally found a hotel.

The heat peaked at 52.6c by my thermometer, but it hovered around the fifty mark for most of my time riding in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. My daily routine descended into sleeping and riding whenever it was even slightly comfortable to do so. Usually just getting 3 hours sleep whenever I saw a patch of shade that would last that long. Then doing most of my cycling distance in the night, if the roads were clear enough. Uzbekistan threw in bureaucratic and authoritarian challenges again with a registration system that is hard to follow, mainly because nobody (including the border guards!) can tell you what it is. I found out the rules quite late on in my time in the country; register every 72 hours. I failed twice to do so but luckily nobody at the border seemed to care. I had avoided deportation this time!

Arriving in Samarkand was a highlight of the region and my trip so far. I met a tonne of other cyclists who were following a similar route, The day I arrived there were 13 of us in the hostel and the policy seemed to be roughly 2 out, 2 in each day during my stay! It seemed my fears of increased loneliness in central Asia were not completely warranted as although hostels are few and far between, the route is quite popular for cycle tourists and with really only one road, it’s hard not to bump into the other cyclists.

Unfortunately nearly all of the other cyclists were intent on following the Pamir highway through Tajikistan and although this was something I had considered, I decided to take the easy route; north then back into Kazakhstan again and then across into Kyrgyzstan. Avoiding the most brutal and coldest of the mountain passes. This meant parting ways with almost everyone, luckily for me there was another cyclist, Alex, heading my way towards the Chinese border so we rode and camped together for a while.

Driving standards throughout central Asia are, without doubt, the worst I have experienced. The only bicycles around are fully utilitarian objects for farmers getting to and from their fields. Even these are extremely rare and don’t seem to be allowed any space on the road. You are expected to take to the tiny strip of dirt at the side of the road any time a car wishes to pass another. Bike fitting is obviously not a service in this area of the world either, I regularly saw young boys aged between 7 and 10 riding full sized frames, standing up on the pedals with barely any clearance from the top tube of the frame. But then I guess boys of 7–10 are expected to work in the fields here like everyone else.

In Kyrgyzstan I had the opportunity of a rest break and spent some time relaxing before I had to fly. I started the process for my Indian visa after lengthy negotiations at the embassy. To get the longest visa possible (India is big…) the consul agreed to issue my visa the day before I flew, which made me a little nervous but I decided to trust him. 21 hours before I flew I collected the visa and it was all as promised so I could breath a sigh of relief at last! I decided to take a flight to India for a few reasons, but mainly for ease of co-ordinating my arrival with that of a close friend of mine from home who has flown out to meet me. Also, because travelling south through Tibet or the Kashmir region of Pakistan/India would be challenging and expensive. As this would have been north-south travel it would, technically, not contribute towards my west-east based goal of circumnavigation and would stretch my tight budget with no overall gain. Although I would have seen some amazing scenery!

Arriving in Delhi was quite a big shock to the system. The heat was slightly lower but humidity here is stifling, like breathing through a sponge. Also, as you may have heard, it’s noisy and busy and dirty. A world away from the relaxation of Kyrgyzstan! As I arrived by plane there was no gradual transition for me, I was thrown right into the middle of it all. I reassembled my bike and broke my chainbreaker in the process, luckily I found a “bike shop” just down the road from our hostel who could no doubt help. He placed my chain on an old nut, placed a ball-bearing on top of the pin and hit it with a hammer a few times. I could have done that myself and saved 20p, but it was probably foolish of me to expect a more professional approach so far from my normal European luxuries like Parktool equipped bicycle workshops. All the same, it did the job.

After a day of rest came the usual fun of securing the visa for the next country, in this case, Myanmar. Myanmar has only recently opened up to tourism and the political situation there (especially around the borders) is sketchy at best. I was aware I needed a permit to cross the border by land as well as my standard tourist visa, but my visa application was refused because I didn’t have the permit. My permit applcation was then refused because I didn’t have the visa. A lot of emails back and forth, three return bike rides through the city, some help from the ambassador and a lot of swearing and I had secured the visa. I am now waiting for the permit to process. I will be cutting it fine as usual, because I will find out if I get it just a few days before my Indian visa expires.

As soon as my visa was stamped and signed, I was able to leave India’s capital city and carry on with my route, this time, with Nancy for company. We headed south for two days to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, which is where we are now. The traffic, as expected, is extremely chaotic. But, I have to say, despite it’s challenges it’s a lot of fun. Rules of the road are completely disregarded (priority on and off of roundabouts is reversed for some reason that I simply cannot fathom) and everybody seems to think they have right of way at all times, but there’s a certain element of respect and focus among road users that is lacking back in Europe. The best thing about Indian roads is that bicycles are everywhere, carrying everything! This means motorists are well conditioned to driving in their presence and as a result, the roads are, ironically, somewhat less intimidating than Europe. In roughly 900km of riding on Indian roads, I am yet to see even a minor collision OR a single angry exchange between road users.

I continue east across India until the 10th of October, when, all being well, I will cross into Myanmar and begin to head towards Australia, a country which is now back on the schedule. Heading to Oz is just one of many changes I have made to my route but my target for completing a full circumnavigation, adhering to the rules in the Guinness Book of Records is still on track!”

“Donations have now reached £3289.31 and I’m well happy with that, so I’d like to thank everyone who has donated or helped to spread the word! Keep it up and I’ll keep pedalling!” Gary Taylor




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Fri, 18/09/2015 - 19:35

Re~Cycle Bike Sale 26th September

Saturday 26th September 2015 - 9am – 1pm

Roughly 1-2% of the bikes donated to Re~Cycle are either unsuitable for Africa (such as thin framed racing bikes) or are bikes with disc brakes which are parts that are not readily available in Africa and thus less likely to be usable. Instead of recycling these bikes we sell them at the local University of Essex and our warehouse in Colchester, generating a sustainable income to help cover our running costs. These bikes are sold at affordable prices starting at £75 and many of these bikes are sold to students or people just starting out as cyclists and therefore looking for a good bargain.

There will be a choice of over 60 new and refurbished bikes including Specialized, Pashley, Boardman, Raleigh and Carerra as well as a good selection of children’s bikes. We will be operating on a first come first served basis and will not be taking reservations, so please come down early if you want to grab yourself a bargain. 

Cash or card payments accepted.

Opening hours: 09:00-13:00

Location:

Re~Cycle
Unit 8 The Grove Estate
Colchester Road
Wormingford
Colchester
Essex
CO6 3AJ




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Fri, 21/08/2015 - 12:55

 Win a Boardman Hybrid Team ridden & signed by Chris Boardman - this bike is one of a kind! 

£1 per ticket - all proceeds will be donated to Re~Cycle.

Charity raffle tickets available for purchase in 19 Halfords stores (Bishop Auckland, Coulbynewham, Cramlington, Darlington, Durham,  Gateshead, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough,  Newcastle Newgate Street, Newcastle Kingston Park, Northallerton, North Shields, Scarborough, Selby, South Shields, Stockton, Sunderland, Washington, York) until 25/09/2015. All raffle proceeds go to Re~Cycle (registered charity number: 1063570). There is one prize of a BBL Hybrid Team Medium. The winner will be drawn at random within a week of the closing date and agrees to participate in publicity relating to the draw. Information collected will be used solely for the purposes of administering the promotion. Employees of Halfords Limited and it's affiliates are not eligible. Promoter: Halfords Ltd, B98 0DE.




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Tue, 18/08/2015 - 15:20

10 riders from the Northern California branch of the multinationl law firm Hogan Lovells cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge to help raise vital funds for Re~Cycle. Led by the CEO of Hogan Lovells, Steve Immelt – the team smashed their initial target of $1,000, raising $11,000 thanks to the brilliant work of Office Managing Partner, Mike Shepard and his Assistant Dena Voecks. 

Re~Cycle would like to thank all those who took part and everyone who made a donation!

The biking team: David Williams, Stacy Hovan, Sam Welch, Helen Trac, Brandon Rainey, Beau Shaw, Steve Immelt, Cole Finegan, Lindsay Furtado and James Tansey.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

The biking team at the finishing point.

The team with friends at Mike Shepard's celebration meal!

Could Re~Cycle be your company’s next charity partner? 

By nominating Re~Cycle to be your company’s next charity of the year or long term charity partner, you could be making a huge difference to the people we support.  

There are many ways to support Re~Cycle in your workplace, including:

Supporting Re~Cycle through your workplace’s payroll giving scheme  
Making a donation to Re~Cycle in lieu of client Christmas cards or gifts
Doing some fundraising in the office
Supporting Re~Cycle at a corporate event

If you’re interested in finding out more, or have some ideas for us we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Roz Taylor corporatepartnerships@re-cycle.org / 07707459324.




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Mon, 17/08/2015 - 18:56

Saturday 29th August 2015 - 9am – 1pm

Roughly 1-2% of the bikes donated to Re~Cycle are either unsuitable for Africa (such as thin framed racing bikes) or are bikes with disc brakes which are parts that are not readily available in Africa and thus less likely to be usable. Instead of recycling these bikes we sell them at the local University of Essex and our warehouse in Colchester, generating a sustainable income to help cover our running costs. These bikes are sold at affordable prices starting at £75 and many of these bikes are sold to students or people just starting out as cyclists and therefore looking for a good bargain.

There will be a choice of over 60 new and refurbished bikes including Specialized, Pashley, Boardman, Raleigh and Carerra as well as a good selection of children’s bikes. We will be operating on a first come first served basis and will not be taking reservations, so please come down early if you want to grab yourself a bargain. 

Cash or card payments accepted.

Opening hours: 09:00-13:00

Location:

Re~Cycle
Unit 8 The Grove Estate
Colchester Road
Wormingford
Colchester
Essex
CO6 3AJ




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Wed, 05/08/2015 - 18:01

Action Bikes have been collecting bikes and parts for us at their four shops in Central and South West London since early 2012. To date they’ve collected over 3,800 bikes. Not only is this a fantastic achievement, it’s a huge help - there are LOADS of bikes sitting in sheds, and the logistics of getting them to us is the tricky bit!

It all started when the owner of Action Bikes, Tony Yerby met Re~Cycle CEO Merlin Mathews: "Merlin turned up at the shop a few years ago on a cargo bike and told me all about the project.  It was difficult to get involved to start with, as it didn't make much sense to drive donated bikes from London to Colchester. In 2012 Twickenham RFC agreed to host some storage containers which enabled us to set up Action Bikes as a satellite operation. Customers donate bikes at our stores and we send them direct from here."

Tony Yerby of Action Bikes
"Sending bikes to Africa makes sense, why scrap the metal when you can send the whole bike to someone that really needs it? The humble bicycle is a life changer when the only alternative is to walk long distances for basic needs and its fun - you cant be grumpy on a bike!" Tony Yerby

Tony and his staff are committed to reusing everything they can get their hands on. “We loves bikes and hate waste. We collect all kinds of spare parts, all of which are put into plastic containers to be sent along with the bikes". Things like inner tubes are incredibly cheap to replace, but scare on the ground in Africa – “we’ve seen inner tubes that have been patched and sown together to such an extent that there is more stitching than tubing – nothing need go to waste!”

Donated bikes are transported to Twickenham every few weeks and stored in a 40ft container until there are enough bikes for a shipment. Tony and  the Action Bikes crew then organise a container-loading day, bringing together the local community to help load the shipment of bikes for Africa. The container loading days are always great fun, and as per tradition – a BBQ lunch is kindly provided for all the volunteers taking part!

Action Bikes have also raised vital funds for Re~Cycle. Tony has organised 6 Cycling Cinema events, powered by up to 6 cyclists hooked up to generators at St Philip & St James Church in Whitton. “It’s a wonderful way to bring together the local community and raise funds for charity! We’re ever so grateful to the church allowing us to use the grounds”.

Next year Action Bikes will be 25 years old, a great achievement for any independant business - they were even voted one of the top 20 Independent Bike Shops in the UK, due in part to their community involvement! Tony remains highly optimistic for the future "Over the last few years there are noticeably more cyclists in London which is brilliant, Boris Johnson has done great things for cycling in London.  Somehow we need to get passed the "Us and Them" attitude that exists on our roads. It appears to be unique to English speaking countries, cycling in Europe is very different. Am sure it wont be too long before its considered normal to ride a bike - it wasn't that long ago we considered acceptable to smoke in pubs."

Action Bikes offer their customers 10% off any bike when they donate their old bike to Re~Cycle. You can locate your closest branch here – don’t forget to bring spare parts if you have some!

Action Bikes 10% off for Re~Cycle




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Fri, 31/07/2015 - 16:41

Unloading Re~Cycle Bikes

Another container of bikes has reached our partners Village Bicycle Project in Ghana! Bikes from this container will be loaded for One-Day workshop programmes in Karimenga (Upper East Region) and Nsuta (Brong-Ahafo Region). VBP’s One-Day workshop is a day-long hands-on preventative maintenance course, aimed at preparing new bicycle owners with skills/knowledge to know when their bicycle is experiencing a problem; how to fix it or seek professional assistance early on.

This will be the team’s second trip to Karimenga - first visiting in April 2015 with 60 bicycles. Due to the success of that programme, the team are returning with 120 bicycles. This will be VBP’s first time hosting workshops in Nsuta, however, they have hosted a Learn-2-Ride programme there - teaching 101 girls to ride in 3 weeks. It’s hoped that many of these new riders will attend the workshop.

Nsuta is  large cashew-producing area and many of the respondents are likely to be farmers, commuting from the roadside town to farmlands north and south of the Sunyani road. A journey on foot to a field 4 km away (about 1 hour) reduces the time available for field work by 25% and uses up three times as many calories as travelling by bicycle (LOWE 1991). With many farmers working on multiple patches, located kilometers apart, a bicycle saves vital energy and time needed to make their work a success!

Many thanks to all the staff who helped make this possible, as well as all our wonderful bike donors!

If you’ve got an old bike that’s collecting dust in your shed, visit our BIKE donations page where you’ll be able to quickly find your closest drop-off point.

Nsuta (Brong-Ahafo Region)
Nsuta (Brong-Ahafo Region)



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