By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Fri, 30/08/2013 - 08:48

Re~Cycle are delighted to announce we have a new drop off point in the West Midlands area which will operate until 20 October. Many thanks to Bluebox Self Storage who have kindly provided a 20 foot shipping container to store bikes for free.

Bikes can be dropped off at:

Bluebox Self, Unit 14, Station Road, Coleshill, Warwickshire, B46 1HT; between 09.00 and 17.00 Monday to Friday; plus 10.00 to 12.30 on Saturday 21 September and 12 October only. On weekdays ask for Lee Smith.

The collections and transport of the bikes to Colchester is co-ordinated by Michael Groll.

Tel. 01675 467785


The collection point is 800m from Coleshill Parkway train station, just north of the Station Road junction with Ennersdale Close.

For more information on Bluebox Self Storage Limited visit: or phone: 01675 470900.

Many Thanks to Michael Groll and Bluebox Storage for making this drop-off point possible!

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 30/07/2013 - 09:18

20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.

15 years ago today (well more or less), in July 1998, Re~Cycle shipped it's first container of bicycles to Afribike in South Africa. Since then a total of 127 full containers have been sent to 15 different countries. Thats a total of more than 47,000 bikes and hundreds of thousands of spare parts.

It is thought that each bike may be shared by up to 6 people so we have enabled more than a quarter of a million people have access to affordable transport. Alongside this hundreds of bicycle mechanics jobs have been created in Africa at the projects and workshops run by our partners and we have offered volunteer opportunities to thousands of people in the UK who have helped collect, prepare and load the containers. Lastly but not least, tens of thousands of people in the UK have donated bikes and/or money to make it happen.

That's a mighty number of people that Re~Cycle has had the privilege to have worked with or supported and we send our thanks and very best wishes to each and every one.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 27/07/2013 - 18:07

We're here (stand 23) and have Never seen so many Brompton's!  Their world Championship tomorrow, come along.

Our home built pedal powered scalectrix is going down well, as is our Buzzer competition, and we've sold some bike chain picture frames and coat hooks.

Thanks to the four volunteers, especially Jay for building the track and Jo for the first ever 'Re~Cycle cake'.

Camping is luxurious - very well organised event  :)

We'll post photos when we have better connection...

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Wed, 24/07/2013 - 15:01

Venue = Goodwood (17 minute bike ride from Chichester station)
Re~Cycle's running a stall
This is the first time for this event, run by a Brighton friend of mine, looks like fun!
Re~Cycle is one of their charity partners
Family rides, races, workshops, food, Brompton World Championships...


By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 11/07/2013 - 13:38

We have just gone through our busiest period ever and have shipped 3 containers in double quick time filled with bikes and spare parts to Africa.

On 24th June we sent a container loaded with 449 bikes to BEN Namibia. At the same time that the container was uplifted, an second empty container was dropped off that was filled with 401 bikes for Ability Bikes in Ghana and picked up 3 days later. Then on Saturday 6th July the third container was filled with 408 bikes destined for The Village Bicycle Project also in Ghana. These bikes were all donated by customers of Action Bikes in London - good guys one and all - see news story below for more information.


Having a rest this week but will be loading another very soon - watch this space.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Mon, 08/07/2013 - 16:10

Those stars at Action Bikes have loaded another container of bikes for Africa!

408 bikes and loads of spares

You can donate bikes and parts at any of their stores

Tony writes "Closing the doors was a mission had to use a scaffold pole on the handle.... Suspect the ground is not a level as it could be!"

A large collection of donated bikes

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Fri, 05/07/2013 - 16:01

From 11th - 16th July you can take your unwanted bicycle to any Halfords bike store - for Re~Cycle.  They're giving a 10% discount voucher, if you want it.

We're 'a little excited', as this could be BIG.

Details -

Enjoy your sunny weekend :)

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Mon, 29/04/2013 - 22:56

We've just had our last supper in Namibia, the trip has been a great sucess in both showing Halfords what we do, and in learning how to help our African Partners develop.

On Friday we visited the Singalamwe Shine Bicycle Shop which employs four people, two of whom are women.

The workshop is notable for having been closed in the past due to witchcraft! The local Headman was supposedly having sex with all of the women of the village 'in spirit form' while they were asleep.

In Oct 2012 they built a small grocery store (a mud hut with a tin roof, in the local style) which has 6 months later just covered the cost of building it. Michael is delighted that their entrepreneurial spirit is strong - the shop is employing three staff and providing a service to the local community.

Today we visited the a bike workshop based at the Family Health Service (FHS), founded in 2003, who feed and support 264 children in Windhoek – a successful project which is looking for bigger premises. Their work includes getting people birth certificates, so they can have government funded schooling and grants if they are orphans and getting people to school if they've dropped out or never attended due to work or looking after siblings.

Funds from the bikes provide food and school uniforms.

a photo of the Staff of Family Health Service workshop, Windhoek, Namibia
Staff of Family Health Service workshop, Windhoek, Namibia. The picture shows, left to right, Yacovina the workshop administrator (her boy is a trainee mechanic), Paulos the mechanic and Foibie, the manager of the whole centre.

Emma (Halfords CSR Manager) was delighted when Derek found a Halfords bike (in the picture) which we happen to have shipped in the past. We had a quite exciting chat with Michael Link, the founder of BEN Namibia, looking at helping him support a bike-reuse project in Kenya. It is run by some people part time and are looking to scale up.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Fri, 26/04/2013 - 16:27

Derek and Merlin have been visiting other workshops with Michael Linke, founder and director of BEN Namibia:

Brief update, as sending as email via mobile, Very Slow up country... 

Getting a better understanding of how BEN operate.

Hard Working Men's Bicycle Shop:

  • Moses drove us to visit the Jane, the head of Catholic AIDS Action, who support all the projects in this region. The projects give 10% of their profits to CAA, to help their work, such as taking children to a holiday camp, providing school uniforms and supplies, and feeding programs
  • he has helped very good community mobiliser, networking between the three local shops
  • moving their container to a lovely new location on a main road, next to where the pensions are paid out monthly

Tuliwonde Bicycle Shop:

  • a great team, with women mechanics. They'd really like better quality bikes than those they're getting from the current supplier (which is not Re~Cycle)
  • made a short film with them, what they like, what some of their challenges are
  • met a ranger who'd brought in a Chinese bike for a new tyre, after he'd only had it for a week

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 23/04/2013 - 18:29

Merlin and Derek are in Namibia, showing Emma, Halford's CSR Manager, how we work on the ground, with some of the benefits and challenges.  We're here for a week to visit our longstanding partners, the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) Namibia.

We hope to send updates as we go, though are heading up country tomorrow, and don't know what internet connection will be like...

An photo of containers converted to a workshop - Kings Daughters Bicycle Shop, one of BEN Namibia's best run Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BEC)
Kings Daughters Bicycle Shop - made from old shipping containers, with an awning between them and in front

Today, on an interesting bicycle ride around Windhoek organised by, we visited the Kings Daughters Bicycle Shop, one of BEN Namibia's best run Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BEC).

As well as providing employment for the mechanics, the project supports ex-sex workers, and generates an income to provide food and support for those with AIDS.

They explained that becoming a bike mechanic is often a first step for an ex-sex worker regaining a sense of worth, and the Kings Daughters are happy that many of them move on to other better paid work.

As well as providing employment for the mechanics, the project supports ex-sex workers, and generates an income to provide food and support for those with AIDS.

They've got a great set up, which has evolved into two 40-foot containers converted to workshop and storage, with a covered secure area in between, which local women like to use for various trainings, such as crafts. The awning in the front provides shade for repairs and sales.

Esme is the manager (in the pink), very passionate and erudite (we'll post a video later).  The USA embassy flew her to the States to receive an award for anti-trafficking work.

Sarah (in the background) is a shy but capable and committed mechanic, and their longest serving employee

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 16/04/2013 - 14:39

Re~Cycle is looking for someone to help our ambitious expansion plans…

Full Time 38 hours per week but with some flexibility

Salary £16,000 - £18,000 depending on experience.

Millions of unwanted bicycles are rusting in garages or being thrown away in the UK, while in Africa, a four-hour daily walk is common. Mothers collect clean water, parents trek to the farm, factory or market, and children face a 20 mile walk to school and back.

The charity collects unwanted bikes, parts and tools in the UK and ships them to Africa, 44,000 so far. There, our trusted and capable partners refurbish and maintain the bikes, to ensure a long life. Many teach locals to repair their own bikes, helping them to improve their lives in a sustainable way.

The successful candidate will have:

  • A successful track record of administrating in a fast moving workplace

  • Good computer skills and a confident phone manner

  • Ability to field front line contact with the charity

  • Ability to work as part of a team – the role requires collaboration with both managers and peers

  • The post holder must be self motivated and able to work on his/her own initiative

  • Confidence to manage and prioritise a varied workload

If that sounds like you and you would like to work with a young, enterprising charity with ambitious plans for growth, please see our online information pack which includes a full job description and person specification, abbreviated terms and conditions and application procedure.

Application Procedure

To apply (by email only please), please send the following to

  1. An application letter including a summary of why you are applying, your skills and experience and how these are relevant to the role, how you meet the person specification requirements and what in particular you would bring to Re~Cycle (max 2 side, please start with your name)
  2. CV (max 2 side, please start with your name)
  3. The names, positions and contact details of at least two referees, including your current or most recent employer. No contact will be made with any referee in advance of an offer being made, without your prior approval

Send your application to

Closing Date: 28th April  2013. Shortlisted applicants will be notified by end 7th May

Interviews: 14th May 2013 in Colchester

Details and background:

  • Location - Severals Industrial Estate, Colchester
  • Staff - we only have 3.5 full time equivalent staff (2 full time in that mix) but many wonderful volunteers
  • Informal work environment

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 16/04/2013 - 14:38

Re~Cycle is very excited to announce an ongoing partnership with Halfords.

As there are literally millions of bikes rusting away in sheds across the UK, the logistics of getting hold of these bikes has always been an issue for us.  However with Halfords' 460 stores across the UK, with each one being a potential drop off point for bikes for us in the future, the challenge is on to grow our African Partner base in a sustainable manner, without getting drowned with bikes in the mean time!

Although the details are still begin worked out, we're looking at a long term partnership and Halfords who will also be raising funds to help us grow too.

Community & CSR Manager for Halfords, Emma Thomas, comments: "we're really excited to be partnering with Re~Cycle, working with them to help collect more bikes and also raise funds, benefiting more people in Africa in the long term."

We are delighted to have Halfords' support and look forward to working with them.

This does NOT mean 'take your bike to Halfords' just yet, we're working on the best way to roll this out. More details will be announced shortly - watch this space!