Frome Community Bike Project is a new venture for the town, emerging as an idea from some of the team who have organised the very successful annual bike jumbles that have been running for the past four years. The bike jumbles have grown year on year and peaked in 2020 with over 135 bikes donated.
With no location to store bikes we have had to store them in locations all over town: from Frome Town Hall, to the Silk Mill, to a volunteer’s garden! We also rely on volunteers so there has been very limited time to check over the donated bikes and many end up ‘sold as seen’, complete with the 10 years of garage grime that they arrived with! Despite these barriers, the jumbles have been hugely successful. In 2020 an overwhelming 91 bikes were sold on the sale day, and together with the sale of donated parts and accessories raised an astonishing £3700. All proceeds from these jumbles have gone to Frome’s Missing Links, the local charity working to link up traffic-free walking and cycling routes in and around Frome.
For the past twelve months the team were generously granted permission to use a garage for free to take in regular donations. A team of volunteers meet weekly to work on the donated bikes and smaller sales of these reconditioned bikes have taken place throughout the year. Bike donations come in nearly every week and the team of volunteers enjoy meeting up weekly to socialise and share skills. The garage space however is temporary as the site is due to be developed in the next few months. It is uninsulated and has no toilet facilities or running water. Space is also limited so the offer can not grow beyond a small team working on donated bikes.
The idea of the Frome Community Bike Project has been simmering away for the past four years. The jumbles have taught us that people want a place to donate their old bikes; demand for low-cost second hand bikes is high; some people want to talk and share their cycling stories and other people want support to be able to cycle more. But the bike jumble model as it has existed so far is very limited. We want to be able to expand and be able to offer more than just selling refurbished second hand bikes.
- Reduce the number of bikes going to landfill, having a positive environmental impact
- Increase the numbers of people riding bikes in and around Frome
- Create a place for low-cost, second hand bikes in Frome, especially for those on lower incomes
- Provide access to tools that most people just wouldn't have at home
- Increase the number of women getting involved in cycling
- Give more opportunities to volunteers, sharing skills and meeting new people
- Provide bike maintenance courses to learn new skills
- Offer bike servicing and safety checks
- Deliver cycle skills sessions and community group rides
Simply put, we need space, tools and kit to get the project off the ground. We have managed to secure a great location for the project to have its home at Station Approach (near the Rye Bakery and the great people at Rather Nice Design, who created our logo for us!) but we need to raise funds to get the project off the ground. The location at Station Approach is currently a car park! Our plan is to transform this by using shipping containers to create secure storage for donated bikes, and using one of the containers we purchase to become our workshop, classroom and shop space. We also need to make the space a great place for you, the local community to come and visit, work on your bikes, and learn new skills.
Our calculations are that we will need three shipping containers, two for storing bikes, with bikes racked on scaffold tubing to minimise the space used, and an insulated container with windows added to be our workshop, service centre, shop and training area.
We also want to make sure that the containers look great, and we will recognise people donating £30 or more by putting their names on the outside of the containers in a nice ‘arty’ way!
We need a few mod cons - like a water and electricity supply and lighting, so we’ll need to get those installed so that we can see what we’re doing and make a hot cuppa on those cold winter mornings!
We’ve got some tools already, but we certainly don’t have enough to run drop-in sessions for people to come and work on donated bikes or on their own bikes. We want to ensure that we’ve got professional, well set up work stations so if you take out a membership you’ve got the right tools to work on your bike with.
We need to purchase a range of consumables - from brake cables to chains and more - and of course these items all cost.
To sell items from services to stock we need checkouts. There are some great low cost options on offer, but we still need to purchase one.
Like any business we need to be insured, and will have professional fees to cover - especially during the setup phase
Cycling is a great, low impact, way to improve health and fitness, and we hope that following the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham many more people of all ages and abilities will be inspired to take up cycling. With the games finishing in August and our crowdfunder kicking off in September we hope that Frome Community Bike Project can be part of the legacy of the games, especially in inspiring younger people with less disposable income to get out on bikes.
Cycling has long been one of the country’s most successful sports in terms of medals in elite competition and inspiring participation is key to this. We aim to be part of the legacy of these games through enabling more people to cycle, both through increasing access to bikes and improving confidence.
We are of course giving back too - we've got a range of rewards available to suit all pockets, from puncture repair kits, to naming rights for our work stations.
Our membership scheme will allow people to book space in our workshop to work on their own bikes for an unlimited number of sessions - within reason of course! - and offers members 10% off parts and services, plus 10% off courses for any of those tricky jobs that you don't know how to do yet. For non-members workshop space will be £10/hour so it doesn't take much for a membership to make sense!
Our t-shirts are supplied by local Frome company 'I Dress Myself' from 100% organic combed cotton and are vegan
Keyrings - sturdy and long lasting, with the Frome's Missing links logo and a handy carabiner for clipping to things. Surprisingly useful for camping!
Made for us by Frome Hardware and laser cut from plywood, the bike postcards feature a classic bike shape and a particularly cleverly engineered hinge
A big thank you to the wonderful local businesses who have offered rewards to our backers. We're truly grateful for the support of:
Frome Boulder Rooms
Deadly Is The Female
Palmer Street Bottle
Eight Stony Street
The Walled Garden at Mells
The Small Studio
There are a few simple ways to help us reach our target, and create a new community cycle hub and workshop for Frome:
1. Make a pledge and claim your reward. Don’t delay if you’re going to support us because momentum is key to our success!
2. Spread the word. Share our project on your social media pages and tell the world to get behind us! The more people we reach, the more support we will get.
3. Offer rewards yourself. Get involved if you are a local business by donating things we can offer to our supporters. We will give you a shout out!