After a successful year, Circular Communities Scotland would like to review the great work that’s happened in 2023 thanks to our Affordable Access to Bikes Project, funded and supported by Cycling Scotland.

Th Affordable Access to Bike project aims to progress recommendations made in Affordable Access to Bikes Report, by supporting organisations which skilfully refurbish donated bikes to tackle the barriers to bike reuse and to work with wider stakeholders to strengthen the bike reuse sector in Scotland. 

Our National Bike Reuse Coordinator Chris Sanderson states:

There’s so much to celebrate about the incredible and inspiring bike reuse work that takes place. Organisations are reducing waste, refurbishing donations, providing affordable access to bikes and getting people cycling, all of which supports active travel, promotes public health and helps tackle the climate emergency. People in the sector work with passion and purpose to give bikes a second life. 

Bike reuse makes a meaningful difference to people’s lives. The statistics and the case studies demonstrate impressive work at organisational level. Every project has successes to shout about. The Affordable Access to Bikes project has been working with organisations across the bike reuse sector to build a better national picture of the value and impact of this important work. Data standardisation is the route to evidencing the difference that bike reuse is making and to levering in the support and resourcing required to secure future impact. 

The building of connection and capacity have been other key areas for the project this year. Bike reuse organisations across Scotland come together quarterly to network, identify and prioritise action areas, update each other and offer peer support. Through these workshops, people have got to know each other better and have then visited and connected with projects that they might not otherwise have done. 

Skills development has also featured strongly. In response to identified needs, the Social Enterprise Academy is delivering a six-day funded peer learning programme, Developing Sustainability in Bike Reuse Organisations. Participants are expressing significant benefit from this course, which increases skill, knowledge, understanding and connection within the sector. Bike Works Fife and FEL Scotland worked with the Affordable Access to Bikes project to run a practical e-bike trouble shooting session and this has modelled how the project may run more peer learning sessions in future. The project is also exploring how we can support the establishment of a bike mechanic apprenticeship in Scotland and how we can continue to support the range of learning opportunities for bike mechanics that already exist. A development area for next year would be to explore how best to support young people looking to get more involved in this field. 

Collaboration between organisations is an additional area to celebrate. In Fife, bike reuse organisations, coordinated by Greener Kirkcaldy, worked with Fife Council to gain access to bikes within their Household Waste Recycling Centres for the purposes of refurbishing and distributing within local communities. This Cycling Scotland backed partnership project showed what can be achieved at a local level. It has also inspired the exploration of further work across Scotland’s local authorities with the goal of supporting bike reuse and enabling affordable access to bikes. 

Bike for Refugees Visit 2023

Bike for Refugees Visit 2023

We’d like to extend a sincere thanks to our funders, supporters and bike reuse projects who have all contributed significantly to helping the Affordable Access to Bike Project flourish in 2023. If you wish to discuss the project or discuss the support we offer for bike reuse organisations in Scotland, please email chris@circularcommunities.scot.