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 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!
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!