Here in Cardiff there are lots of amazing people working on amazing projects with sustainability in mind. Cardiff Cycle Workshop is an award winning bike recycling centre, located just off the Taff Trail who recondition abandoned or unwanted bikes to give them a new lease of life. The City of Cardiff Council have been donating bikes from our Household Waste Recycling Centre for some time. We caught up with Workshop coordinator Jon Howes to find out a little bit more.
- Jon, can you tell me about your roll at Cardiff Cycle Workshop?
I am the Workshop Coordinator, which is snappy title for a very varied role. Day to day, I make sure that the workshop is running as efficiently as possible; managing staff and volunteer rotas, recruiting volunteers, maintaining stock levels, keeping the workshop organised etc. I also deal with enquiries from the public regarding bike sales, donations and repairs, as well as running sales, collecting bikes and carrying out repairs.
- How many bikes do you normally get donated by the Household Waste Recycling centres every month and what happens to them?
We probably collect on average around 40 bikes a month from the HWRC’s, less in the winter and more in the summer, with Easter weekend being a particularly busy time. The bikes are brought back here to the workshop and assessed for the their “repairability”, bikes deemed useable are logged and will be repaired and reused, bikes that are too far gone are stripped for parts and then taken for recycling; we recycle between 0.5 and 1 tonne of mixed metals every month.
- What the most unusual bike that you’ve been donated/ have built/ refurbished?
That’s probably a vintage tandem that was donated to us at our previous workshop in Ely Bridge. It was by a British manufacturer called Higgins, who were most active in the 1950’s and 60’s. As such a rare bike, we did a bespoke refurbishment on it, for a customer who fell in love with it when he saw it in the workshop one day. Occasionally, we also get vintage bikes from places like Germany and The Netherlands. These bikes are always interesting to work on as they are often quite different mechanically.
- Why should people consider a refurbished bike over a new one?
There are many advantages to buying one of our bikes – certainly it’s much cheaper than a new bike. All our repaired bikes undergo a second inspection by one of our qualified staff members before we put them on sale, so customers can be confident they are reliable. Not only that, we warranty all our bikes for three months, so if you do experience a problem you can get it fixed. A refurbished bike for £90 with a 3 month warranty is great value when you consider that you could spend double or treble that for a similar bike. Our bikes also have character, especially the vintage ones. Finally, the proceeds from bike sales go straight back into the company, enabling us to continue to save waste, train volunteers and get more people cycling.
• Do you have any services to encourage people to get their bikes out of their sheds get back on two wheels again?
We offer repairs and servicing in the workshop, carried out by one of our qualified staff mechanics. We try to turn repairs around within 48 hours. We offer training courses to give people the skills needed to carry out a range of bike repairs themselves and get them back on the road. Also, we offer recycled parts and frames for sale for people who would like to try and build their own bike.
Cardiff Cycle Workshop (Map) holds a bike sale at the workshop every Friday afternoon and the first Saturday morning of every month. The available bikes are listed on this Flikr page, but bikes are first come first serve – so set your alarm clock! For more information about the workshop or the training courses available – check out http://www.cycletrainingwales.org.uk