Saturday, 21 April 2012

New Workshop - Bicycle Links

After several months of painting walls, ham- mering work- benches together and hunting for secondhand furniture, Bicycle Links opened its doors at the beginning of March. We're based in an old shoe factory, St Mary's Works, at the north end of Duke Street in the city centre.

The heart of our project is to recycle the sad old bikes that are abandoned or unwanted and give them a second lease of life. This not only stops usable items going into waste, it also provides good quality secondhand bikes for sale - doing two green things in one go.

The great thing about refurbishing bikes is that it's also an opportunity to give unemployed people maintenance skills and experience. This is the third aim of our project. We're developing a volunteer program that will offer weekday sessions from 'fix your own bike' to more general workshop practice.

Bicycle Links is a community interest company, in other words a social enterprise. The enterprise part includes bicycle repairs, maintenance classes, a women's evening, bike sales, events (hopefully) and, soon, bike hire. We've even started a bicycle library.

As a new business we've had some 'what are we doing?' moments. With 3000 square feet of workshop and all the overheads we did wonder sometimes if we were mad or stupid. But it's starting to come together now and we're getting a steady stream of repairs. The response from visitors has been great.

Norfolk is a brilliant place for cycling and if nothing else we want to encourage more people to get about on two wheels. We're open Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm, so please come and see us. And if you have an old bike rusting in a shed that you don't want, we'd love to have it.

Lucy Hall

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