Who is Broken Spoke ?
Broken Spoke Bike Co-op is Oxford’s own not-for-profit community enterprise where you can learn how to fix and ride your bike. Our vision is to create an open, inclusive, and sustainable cycling & fixing community. We started small in 2012 by running sessions in community centres around the city. Over the last 5 years we have grown so much; we now help hundreds of people fix and ride their own cycles every year!
- drop-in DIY workshops - we have a fully equipped workshop, supported by qualified lead mechanics & volunteers
- mechanics courses - intro/advanced/bespoke; we’ve developed hands-on & unique curricula so you learn the principles of mechanics and stuff really sticks in your head
- cycle training - we are Oxford’s only Bikeability accredited organisation, supporting beginners and experienced folks of all ages & backgrounds to more confidently and safely negotiate our roads
- women & transgender events like our Beryl’s Nights - we create safe spaces for under-represented people so they can gain access to knowledge about fixing stuff & realise their capabilities
- build-a-bike classes for people who’re vulnerably housed - we create opportunities for people to learn new skills, and independently and affordably get around town
- bike refurbishment we up-cycle & reuse bikes, reducing waste & getting more people pedalling
- Dr Bike & other events for our local community - like the 2017 Festival of Women & Bicycles. We aim to bring fixing & riding to all!
Why are we crowdfunding?
In Oxford’s property market it’s really hard for small, independent, community organisations like us to find secure & affordable premises. Our current premises has been temporary, and now we need to move our workshop.
Despite this property market, and after a long old search, we have found somewhere!
We’ll be sharing a space with Aspire Oxford, in central Oxford on Osney Lane, and we’ll have an affordable rent. Importantly, this will enable us to keep our work accessible, so we can bring fixing & riding to more people.
Our new premises has incredible potential. We need to refurbish & kit out the space so it can function well as a workshop and as a base for our other projects. We also need to cover legal costs, pay salaries, keep volunteers fed & watered while we’re moving and refurbishing, and create some meaningful rewards that spread the Spokie love and gratitude.
With your support we can keep pedalling for another 5 years!
What do we need?
Take a look at the project updates to find out more information about our stretch target!!
We are raising £11,000 to cover the majority of our relocation and refurbishment costs.
Here’s a budget breakdown:
- Refurbishment & decoration - £500
- Staff costs - £2700
- Moving costs - £250
- Legal fees - £5520
- Volunteer expenses - £350
- Crowdfunder fees 8% - £880
- Fulfilling pledges, approx - £850
Rewards...? Why, yes!
We couldn’t do this without you guys! So to spread the Spokie love we’ve come up with some meaningful rewards, as a thank you. You can have some great experiences/fix stuff/get the warm-fuzzy-feeling-of-keeping-Broken-Spoke-pedalling.
Check ‘em out:
So you’re closing, when do you reopen?
If all goes to plan our last day in our workshop on Pembroke St will be Tuesday 19th June, 8am - 6pm.
We will be reopening in St Thomas School from 8am Tuesday 3rd July. Wahooooo!
When you re-open, will you operate in the same way?
Actually, our move gives us the opportunity to switch things up a bit. After we’ve settled in, we’ll be looking at changing our opening hours, how we run mechanics courses, and a bunch of other things like creating more opportunities for people to volunteer with us and learn about fixing & riding. It’s all pretty exciting tbh!
You can sign up here to receive our newsletter. Then we’ll let you know more as soon as we can.
Can you give me some more info on what you'll spend the money on?
You’ll see that lots of the money raised will cover the legal costs of us moving, ie. drawing up leases etc. Despite searching high n’ low for pro bono or legal support at social rates, we’ve been unable to find this. These costs have ended up being higher than we’d hoped. We have therefore reprioritised some of our refurb budget, and we won’t be investing in some new equipment, for example, that will help streamline different parts of the workshop. We do hope to do this in the future.
The money raised will also help to pay our staff team through the closing & set-up phase of our premises relocation. Over the last 5 years income generated from our different programmes has been used to pay our staff, proving that this model can work as a successful community enterprise. And we’ve been able to increase our full time staff team, as well as employ several casual mechanics and cycling instructors - so this model has also allowed us to grow. In order to set up the new workshop we’ll need to stop running our programmes for a short while and focus on setting up our new space. This means our staff will need a bit of support too. We’ll use most of the rest to cover refurbishment & relocation costs.
Ok, cool. What about your legal structure?
Great question! We’ve recently transitioned to become a Community Benefit Society. And we’re run under the Cooperative Principles. This means we work for the benefit of our community - be that volunteers, members, workers, people who come to learn about fixing & riding, and the wider Oxford community.
Ok great. Is there anything else?
Well… since you're asking: We believe in cycling & active transport. Going out for a pedal does wonders for your mental and physical health. Cycling has the potential to be one of the most accessible, efficient, cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and sociable ways of getting around town. You can cycle with your kids, cycle to the shops, cycle for fun, cycle for fitness. You can meet amazing people and see incredible places all over the world - all through the power of your wheels and yourself.
Learning how to "keep your machine runnin’ clean" (ie. mechanics) is incredibly empowering. Being able to maintain stuff yourself can save you loads of time, money, and tricky endings to cycle trips - it also keeps more stuff out of landfill.
We know cycling has the power to transform lots of lives. So our aim is to make cycling as accessible, inclusive, and affordable as it can be. We therefore keep our prices & costs low and we focus many of our programmes towards people who aren’t very visible in the cycling industry, or haven’t been given access to knowledge about fixing stuff.
Even with all these lofty ideals, it’s very tricky to access affordable working space in central Oxford. This is a problem that lots of not-for-profit community organisations face. And if we moved further out of town, we’d be less accessible for loads of people with broken bikes.
So we’ve been working hard to secure Broken Spoke’s future, and a physical space is key to this. We don’t have massive reserves, and we don’t have big backers. Lots of people putting small amounts into the pot means we’re financially sustainable and resilient, we can operate independently to external funding cycles, and we're accountable to our community.
We’ve ridden out some of the trickiest economic climates facing small organisations. We’ve been able to expand what we do, providing loads of people with support and access to fixing & riding. We do need a bit of extra support to get us into our new home.
With your support we can concentrate on what we do best: developing inclusive, accessible, affordable ways for everyone to learn about fixing & riding!
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Thanks also to other community bike projects, London Bike Kitchen and Brixton Cycles, who inspired us to seek support from our community through crowdfunding. They’ve also grappled with access to premises, and have successfully kept themselves pedalling through campaigns similar to ours.
Thanks to Stir to Action, who are providing advice & support with running this crowdfunder. You guys are great!