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!

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Mon, 15/04/2013 - 10:27

Fancy a cycling challenge? We're an official charity partner with three bike events in 2013:

Moonriders - 100km night rides
Ride24 - a 24 hour, 300 mile bike ride
UK End 2 End - the ultimate UK cycling tour 

Orbital Cycling Festival

We'd be delighted if you could take part and cycle for us. Every penny raised is much appreciated. Please find out more here.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Fri, 12/04/2013 - 18:46

Congratulations to our friends at Action Bikes (who collect and ship bikes for us). They were voted into the top 20 Independent Bike Shops in the UK, due in part to their community involvement!

Currently the London Cycling Campaign & London Evening Standard are taking nominations for the London Cycling Awards.
Categories include Best Retailer and Best Community Project.  You can vote here
Nominations are open until Wednesday 17th April, voting starts Friday 19th.

Find your nearest bike re-use project, including Action Bikes in London, using our UK bike re-use project map - here

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 19/03/2013 - 13:29

Mid-Essex-based Co-operative, Chelmsford Star has just donated and delivered a refurbished and sign written transport van to Re~Cycle.

The Society has been supporting Re~Cycle since last summer when they joined forces and collected over 400 unwanted bicycles from the Chelmsford area. These were picked up from local homes by the society’s warehouse staff and delivered to Re~Cycle’s depot in Colchester.

Re~Cycle's new van to collect bicycles for Africa
Re~Cycle's new van to collect bicycles for Africa

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 05/03/2013 - 08:10

The third shipment of bikes is now on its long journey to the bicycle workshop Salvo Bikes, part of the Salvation Army International Development's Anti Child-Trafficking project in Mchinji, Malawi. The shipment comprises of 433 bicycles as well as many spare parts to enable the bikes to be serviced and maintained.

Today, 5 March we are awaiting delivery of another container, the 4th of this year, that is destined for The Bicycling Empowerment Network in Cape Town, South Africa. With more bikes being donated we are able to increase the frequency of shipments to our partners so many thanks to all for your much appreciated support. 

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 07/02/2013 - 14:42

On Saturday 2nd February we sent on its way to Ghana, the second container loaded at Twickenham of bikes collected by Action Bikes in London. A great team effort and many thanks to Tony Yerby and his colleagues at Action Bikes and their customers who had donated the bikes, to the generous people at Twickenham Rugby Club who provided storage space for the bikes and to the Re-Cycle volunteers who came along to help guide the loading.

A total of 417 bikes were packed together with many valuable spare parts that had been carefully sorted and packed. There are several lovely photo stories and a short video on the Action Bikes website here

As Tony said "Under the Re~Cycle crew's expert guidance it went very smoothly... possibly even record breaking ??  May have been the England V Scotland Rugby 4pm kick off that helped drive things along !"

Very many thanks to all who contributed to another great shipment that is due to arrive in Ghana on 28th February.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 19/01/2013 - 10:36

The new year has got off to a great start with 420 bikes loaded over 4 days that left Felixstowe on 17th January to arrive in Tema Port on 6th February. Many thanks to all who donated bikes and to our volunteers who helped with preparing the bikes for shipment and with the loading.

The bikes are for our partner The Village Bicycle Project and will be used for their projects in rural Ghana. Their Field Worker, Jason was in the UK over Christmas and came to visit us in Colchester at the end of December. Our volunteers were pleased to hear some of his many stories of life in Ghana and of the great impact that bicycles have in improving peoples lives.

We have shipments upcoming for Malawi, Zambia and South Africa that will be shipped as soon as we have enough bikes so please, keep them coming.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Fri, 14/12/2012 - 12:39

We offer our congratulations to The Climate Change Team at The University of Essex who recently had their work recognised when they were winners in Environmental Awareness catagory at the Colchester Business Awards ceremony. The judges were impressed with the university's implementation and attitude to sustainability and by its efforts at carbon reduction.

Re-Cycle is enormously proud of its muti stranded relationship with the university and delighted that this relationship formed part of the university's winning entry. Annually the university donates 100 or more abandoned bicycles to Re-Cycle and several times each year we sell refurbished bikes on campus raising much needed revenue for us but also providing low cost environmentally friendly transport for students. We also have many student volunteers help with our work and since the start of this academic year Re-Cycle has provided the very popular weekly Dr Bike sessions on campus that ensure that students bikes are well maintained. 

We done to the Climate Change team and we look forward to developing our relationship further still.


By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 10/11/2012 - 12:05

Our first container loading from our new premises on Severalls Business Park took place at the end of October. Not only was this a first from our new warehouse but also, as can be seen below, the container was delivered by a vehicle fitted with a crane and dropped onto the ground actually inside the warehouse. Previously we have had to load containers sat on trucks parked outside. Having the container inside was fantastically benefitial not only as we could load in the dry but also loading on ground level meant not having to lift the bikes up to the back of the container.

The shipment of 416 bicycles is now on its' way to Glads House Bike Project in Mombasa, Kenya. This is one of several projects supported by our partner Glads House.

Many thanks to all of the individuals. businesses and organisations who generously donated the bikes to us. It won't be too long before the bikes are are enjoying a new lease of life and providing great improvement to people's lives in Africa.

Container on the ground for loading, our new system, faster and safer
Container on the ground for loading, our new system, faster and safer :)