By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 04/10/2011 - 14:47

No, you have not been misdirected to the wrong website. We are publishing a series of reports from the African adventures of intrepid Re~Cycle volunteer Vanessa. She's visiting some of our partners, and all your questions will be answered below....

You Give - The first Re~Cycle project we visited was the charity Glad’s House located in Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city and main port. Liz and Bokey run the charity, which is dedicated to helping Mombasa’s street kids re-integrate into society.

We ship - Glad’s House have received 5 shipments of bikes from Re~Cycle, and ideally would like to receive a shipment every three months.

They thrive - Many of the kids are from broken homes or are orphans. For various reasons, the kids have been forced to live on the streets. Many are drug addicts, who have survived some 'fairly' traumatic experiences.

Re~Cycle bikes are sold to local tradesmen so they can carry their tools, or to local producers to take their goods to market. Locals also bring their bicycles into the workshop for repairs, and Glad’s House occasionally train local bike shops and organisations on bicycle repair and maintenance. The profits from the bike sales pay the wages of the bike mechanics and social workers who provide the counselling, and also fund the programmes such as the golf caddies and vocational training.

Some bikes are given or sold cheaply to street kids. I talked with Godfrey Wesonga, a 25 year old who has been coming to Glad’s House for 6 months now. Godfrey explained how the bike he was given by Glad’s House; before the bike he had to walk everywhere as he couldn’t afford to take the bus. He now uses his bicycle to commute to Glad’s House for counselling and football practice and to get to jobs. “Having a bicycle has made it much easier to sort out my problems and get ahead in life”.

Glad’s House does many things. It provides a respite from the hardships of life on the streets and gives the kids some semblance of normality. The project provides counselling, education, and vocational training via it’s bike mechanic and carpentry workshops. At present both workshops cater for 60 boys, most of whom are teenagers or in their early twenties. The kids come to Glad’s House one day a week, and, in addition to the counselling and training, receive lunch. There is a Glad’s House football team, and a golf caddy programme, which is currently training eleven of the kids to become caddies at a golf course just north of Mombasa.

A more details can be found on Vanessa’s blog and on our Glad's House page.


By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 25/08/2011 - 11:56

After a fantastic response to our call for donations earlier this month, yesterday our seventh container of the year was finally shipped out to Glad's House in Kenya.

Our fantastic team of volunteers managed to squeeze 411 bikes into the container along with lots of parts, tools and a wheel trueing stand - all invaluable to the local mechanics.

This month we were treated to a visit from our man in the field, Jason Finch, who gave us a rundown of how things have been going in Africa. Jason has spent eighteen months based at our partner Ezetela in Dodowa, keeping in close contact with our two other partners in Ghana. He also spent a couple of months travelling around the East Africa coast and visiting our partners there. He's provided us with incredibly valuable information about our partners, and allows us to tailor our shipments to the needs of our partners.

He's recommending a focus on Malawi and Kenya, and the Salvation Army have got on board with this for the future.

We're also pleased to announce that our search for a fundraiser is going well with a total of 34 applicants. Interviews are currently in progress and we hope to announce who the successful candidate is soon!

Remember, you can keep up to date with all our latest news on our Facebook page and by following us on Twitter.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 04/08/2011 - 08:49

We urgently need more bicycles to make up the next two shipments to The Village Bicycle Project in Ghana and Glad's House Bike Project in Kenya. We had hoped to send the shipment to Ghana in July but are still a little way short of having enough to make up a full container load. Our partner in Kenya has just distributed all of the bicycles that they received from us at the beginning of April and have now requested the next shipment to be sent as soon as possible.

If you were thinking of ever donating a bike to us please make it now if at all possible. Details of our drop off point in Colchester can be found here together with our opening times and directions how to find us.

We realise that many would be donors are distant from Colchester but if you come this way and are able to bring a bike to us we would be very grateful at any time but particularly right now. Thank you.

We hope to soon be able to announce details of a new collection point in London - news will be posted on this page.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 19/07/2011 - 12:06

James Thomas and Adrian Redfern will be setting off in a week on an incredible 6,000km trans-continental expedition, taking in over 20 nations, some of the toughest mountain ranges in Europe and all in aid of Re~Cycle. On top of this, they plan to do it in just 100 days.

Ther aim is to highlight the importance of bicycles as a means to improves lives, exactly what we hope the bicycles we send to Africa will do. Make sure you keep an eye on their website for updates as they update it throughout the ride, everyone here at Re~Cycle will be watching and supporting them whole way.

If you'd like to sponsor them then please either check out their website or go straight to their JustGiving page and dig deep.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Wed, 13/07/2011 - 14:49

For her 27th birthday, Sarah decided to do something different. She decided to complete a heart-shaped sponsored ride in her home town of Milton Keynes in aid of Re~Cycle. You can read more about Cycle Your Heart Out on their website.

Completed on the 2nd of July, her fantastic endevour attracted 26 fellow cyclists (and one dog) and has raised a massive £220 so far, and she's still looking for donations at her JustGiving page.

However, the story doesn't end there. As well as doing her own ride, Sarah is encouraging anyone to do their own heart-shaped cycle in aid of a charity of their choice and has put together a great guide on her website here.

So, why not get involved in the project and put yourself on the map? We're all really grateful to Sarah for her donation and can't wait to see other people's efforts. If you do decide to ride in aid of Re~Cycle, make sure you get in touch.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 28/06/2011 - 15:12

On the 17th June we loaded up and shipped off our sixth container load of 2011. A few hiccups later and it's finally made it onto the boat this week.

However, this shipment was a little unusual. Destined for Cape Town, we've loaded it with primarily road bikes (336 in total) plus 5 bicycle rickshaws as well as 44 bags of the usual selection of spares parts.

Rickshaws take up lot of room in the container, and we did have to sacrifice 60 or so "regular" bicycles, but in cities like Cape Town they are invaluable. They've got all sorts of uses from taxis to transportation, and we're sure they'll find a great new home in Africa.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Mon, 20/06/2011 - 13:43

We're home safe and sound! Thanks to everyone that visited and hopefully see you all next time.

This year, for the first time, Re~Cycle had a stall at Glastonbury Festival, in the Green Futures Field along with many other eco/environment/campaigning groups including TSFR Cymru, the Welsh group of Tools for Self Reliance whose work we greatly admire.

We did a wide range of activities but the pedal powered mobile phone charging service was the biggest hit - thanks to Jason Pettit who made it work and kept in running.

Events @ Re~Cycle:

Friday, Saturday + Sunday:

  • Cycle maintenance lessons @ 1-3 - thanks to the Bike Guru
  • Pedal powered electrical generation workshop @ 3 - thanks to Jason
  • Open mic - which we'll upload to the site!

For Sale: our quality and value wares, to raise much needed funds

  • Organic t-shirts sporting our logo
  • High viz vests, also sporting our log
  • NEW - belts made from recycled bike tyres
  • Fair Trade useful home-wares made from recycled bike chain

Thanks to all who dropped by for a chat and to find out about our work and for the generous support - nearly £550 raised from merchandise sales and donations.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 09/06/2011 - 14:26

Our man in Ghana, Jason Finch has written to say that he "collected our certificate of registration from Accra yesterday - Ezetela Bicycle Workshop - is an official business!!!  It's a big achievement for us all - including everyone at RC - congratulations!"

Our page about them is here -

Jason's been helping get them up and running, as well as getting vital feedback from existing partners and looking at new organisations to work with.  In addition, he's had a big trip round Africa, visiting bike reuse groups.  "Very Many thanks", says Re~Cycle founder Merlin.


Sarah has created a website to inspire people all around the world to fundraise for a cause they feel passionate about and cycle a route in the shape of a heat!

Launch is raising money for Re~Cycle and is on her 27th Birthday - 12pm on Saturday 2nd July.  For those of you who are not massive cyclists the route will be easy and families and children are more than welcome!

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 04/06/2011 - 10:12

Our 5th shipment has just been sent on it's way to The Kaloko Trust, Zambia. 414 bikes were loaded plus many wheels and tyres and 74 packages of spare parts. The container will go via the port at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania so we are hoping the the delays at the port that existed earlier this year will have eased and that the eagerly awaited shipment will arrive as soon as possible. 

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 12/05/2011 - 07:44

Class 1 Teacher Fiona Duffen has told us this lovely story.

"Snowdrop Class at Stanford In The Vale School in Oxfordshire have raised £750 for Re-Cycle through a sponsored bike ride. All term the Year 1 children have worked on a topic on bikes and this made an exciting end to their studies. They have learned about the benefits of using bicycles rather than cars and chose Re-Cycle partly because of this. They have also been interested to see the way the bikes are adapted so that people's lives can be made better. As they cycled round (on a very cold day in March) they were encouraged to think about the long journeys children like them have to make on foot in Africa and how cycling their 10 laps would help to make things easier for them"

Many thanks to Snowdrop class, Mrs. Duffen and all at the school for this wonderful awareness and fund raising event. The money raised has been used towards paying for the balance of the cost of shipping a container of 413 bicycles now on it's way to Namibia.

See also the See The Difference story below and note that there's a new video of the bike being loaded, scroll to the bottom of this page.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 28/04/2011 - 10:35

Thanks to the Vodaphone Foundation, through the World of Difference programme, we are able to have a full time addition to our team for the next few months.

Laura Mumford was awarded one of 500 World of Difference places which help people to work for a charity of their choice for 2 months full time. Laura will be working on the possibility of tracking our bicycles to establish a greater understanding of their benefits to the recipients in our partner projects and also assisting with the London Reuse Network London hub proposals. You can find out more about her time with Re~Cycle here:

Laura's Blog

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sun, 03/04/2011 - 23:01

Thanks again to our See The Difference friends who launched a campaign "Send a bike to Namibia" with the help of the wonderful folks here. Together they raised £2,800 to send a container of bikes to Namibia.
The project is now closed and Re~Cycle is 3/4 of the way to filling the container.
We aim to ship the bikes in 2 weeks and will get footage of the loading as well as recipients getting the bikes - watch this space!
Nicola, Lisa, Dom, thank you so much for running the project, donors we are very grateful for your donations and promise to keep you updated on the progress!
Page of event below: