A few changes at Recyke y’bike

It’s only been a day, but everyone is already missing Sara!

Sara has returned to working just around the corner from us at Stepney Bank Stables, and would you believe it, she has also taken Scout (shop doggie) with her. Everyone is wishing Sara good luck with her new job, and we all thank her for the hard work and the effort that she has given Recyke y’bike over the last few years.

Sara has dealt with the logistical challenges of moving us from the arches to our huge Brinkburn Street location, keeping us running as an essential service during Covid lockdowns, and moving the Durham shop, not once but twice. She has also helped to make Recyke y’bike what it is today. Our shops are busy and the delivery of our charitable objectives have moved to new heights thanks to Sara. I don’t think I could easily put a figure on how many people have benefitted from the work she has done as our General Manager.

So THANK YOU Sara.

Scout will also be a huge miss. When staff were feeling the pressure, we could always rely on Scout being there and offering up his belly for us to rub, and his chin for a tickle. All Scout asked for was to be tucked into his bed and blanket, constant attention, strokes and snacks (lots of snacks). Scout was also our number one customer service and social media dog – I’m sure he helped sell many of our bikes by making customers feel so at home.

A few changes have also happened at our Chester le Street shop. Phil has taken on the role of Shop Manager, and has already had a great start. We opened the shop at the end of June, after relocating from North Road in Durham city centre, and the new shop on Ropery Lane is buzzing with repairs and bike donations. I can only see Phil and the shop going from strength to strength.

Pete, who delivered lots of our outreach at Byker, has also come on board full time as a mechanic at Chester le Street. He has several years of bike fixing experience and will be great support to Phil and the other mechanics and volunteers in the shop in the months to come.

So that just leaves me, Neil. I’ll be trying my best to follow in the footsteps of Sara, as Recyke y’bike General Manager. I started my Recyke y’bike journey back in 2019 as a mechanic at Byker, and I’m really looking forward to my new role, and to the challenges ahead.

And that’s not all. We are also creating a new role and recruiting a Community Engagement Coordinator to lead our community partnerships, funding and outreach work (more news hopefully on that appointment coming soon)!

Could you be our Community Engagement Coordinator?

We have created an exciting new role to ensure that we’re getting bikes to people who need them most, plus empowering more people to cycle and carry out their own repairs. The appointed person will work across our Chester-le-Street and Byker sites and will be responsible for developing and planning activities that engage the community in those areas. That might include working with local schools and community groups or further developing our pop up street sessions. As many of these activities are funded via grants, the role will also include producing reports for funders and seeking further funding. We’re looking for someone who:

  • Has experience of working within community settings
  • Has experience of fundraising
  • Is highly organised
  • Works well in a team
  • Is able to build relationships with a wide range of people
  • Is passionate about cycling and it’s benefits

 

For further details including the salary please view the Job Description.  Potential applicants should also read about our charitable objectives. If you think this looks like the role for you, please complete an application form and return it to sara@recyke.bike by Friday 26th August. If you’d like to arrange an informal discussion about the post contact Sara via email to set up.

Our new Chester-le-Street shop is now open!

We’re delighted to be able to open the doors and welcome customers to our new shop on Ropery Lane in Chester-le-Street. Our team of staff and volunteers have been working hard over the last few weeks to prepare the shop, workshop and back storage areas in order to maximise the available space and create a light, bright environment to visit and work in.

The shop will be providing repairs, servicing and also selling a wide selection of bikes for all the family. Once we’ve settled in we’ll also be offering training courses and getting out and about into the community. Look out for us at Riverside Park on Fridays over the summer!

Durham shop closure

As you are hopefully already aware we are relocating from Durham to Chester-le-Street. In order to begin the packing up process, the shop on North Road will stop taking in servicing, repairs and donations from Saturday 14th May. The last day for bikes sales will be on Saturday 21st May. We hope to be able to open on Ropery Lane, Chester-le-Street by the middle of June and look forward to welcoming you there!

 

Reinvent our 3%

A group of Tyne and Wear Fund pensioners are campaigning to free their pensions from investment in fossil fuels. They’re putting their money where their mouths are by pledging to donate up to 3% of their pension to sustainable causes. And Recyke y’bike is their chosen cause! Find out more by visiting their Facebook page or by coming along to the campaign launch event on Friday 6th May 11.30 am at Recyke y’bike’s Byker branch. There will be speakers, poetry, cake and free bike safety checks. All welcome.

Recyke y’bike in Durham – move to Chester-le-Street confirmed

As you may already be aware from previous communications, Recyke y’bike has been searching for a permanent home since receiving notice about the plans to redevelop the Durham bus station (where we were originally based). We were able to move further down North Road which enabled us to continue to deliver a service in Durham but we were operating on annual licences which gave no security and made it difficult to plan. We now believe we have found the perfect permanent home at Blackburn House on Ropery Lane in Chester le Street. The new premises are just off the A167 (see map below) so just a short ride from Riverside park. There is ample free parking outside, quiet streets to enjoy a test ride and it’s just near Re-f-use (another recycling charity) where you can refuel with hot drinks and brilliant food. We’re really looking forward to building a community offer in the local area and developing partnerships with schools and community organisations. We very much hope that our loyal Durham customer base will make the move with us (it’s not that much further than the Arnison Centre) and we hope to see new faces coming through our doors too. Look out for special offers coming to celebrate our opening which we hope will be early in June! 

Join our team!

We’re looking for an experienced bicycle mechanic to join our team in Durham. The post is full time (35 hours/week) but we will consider requests for part time working. The post is initially a fixed term post until 31st July 2022. We are aiming to relocate from Durham to Chester le Street in the summer of 2022 and aim to make the post permeant once we have signed the lease on a new property.  To arrange an informal discussion about the role please email our General Manager sara@recyke.bike or download an application pack. The deadline for submitting application forms (contained within the pack) is 4pm on the 14th January. Interviews will take place on the 21st January.

Top tips for buying bikes for kids

If you’re thinking of buying a bike as a Christmas gift this year here are our tips to help you make the right choice!
1. Sizing. If the child already has a bike check the wheel size (you’ll find it on the tyre) before going out to get a new one so that you can select the next size up. If it’s possible, take the child with you so that they can try the bikes for size. As well as considering if they can touch the floor and reach comfortably for the handle bars, also check that they can squeeze their brakes. Children with small hands sometimes struggle to reach the brake levers. This can often be solved with a simple adjustment of lever position.  If you find a good fit for the child you can always pop back later to pick the bike up so that they don’t know you’ve bought it!
2. Bike type. Match the type of bike you buy to the type of riding you think the bike will be mostly used for. If the child is going to be using the bike for playing out then a BMX is ideal. They’re super easy to maintain as there’s no gears to worry about and lots of fun. If you’re going for family bikes rides then gears become more important. If you’re serious about cycling then buying a lightweight bike is also important to help your child cover the distance or get up the hills!
3. Longevity. If you’ve got a big family and the bike is going to get passed down to younger children then it’s really worth investing in a good quality bike that will stand the test of time. Frog and Isla bikes are great choices but they are significantly more expensive. Hire schemes are available or keep an eye on our Facebook shop page to see if you can pick up a refurbished bargain!
4. Mechanical skills. A bike is a great way to help kids learn the basics so that they can identify and use tools and get curious about how things work. Teach them how to pump up their tyres, take their wheels off, patch a puncture and oil their chain! You’ll have loads of fun and they’ll learn some key life skills. Pick up a pump and a puncture kit when you buy the bike and, if you need help, there’s loads of YouTube videos that will cover the basics.
Happy cycling!

The future of Recyke y’bike in Durham

You may be aware that Recyke y’bike have been seeking alternative premises in Durham. We’ve been lucky enough to operate rent free with support from Durham County Council for several years but, with the demolition of the bus station this is no longer an option.

 

Commercial rents are incredibly high in Durham and shops tend to be small with poor vehicular access during the day (essential for dropping off donations or repairs and for the removal of bikes for recycling). We’ve explored leads with the university but these have come to nothing.

 

The lack of suitable property in Durham is one issue. The second is that, whilst the current Durham location meets two of our stated charitable objectives; saving bikes from landfill and providing affordable access to bikes, because of its size and location, it hasn’t been able to serve the socially disadvantaged or provide training to all ages in bike repairs and refurbishment which are also core objectives.

 

Looking to solve both of these problems we began to look at the areas surrounding Durham to see if we could find a location that would enable full fulfilment of the charity’s objectives with a population that would purchase bikes and at a rent that is affordable. Chester le Street appears to tick all of those boxes with a diverse population mix, good road, rail and cycle links and a community interested in environmental issues using the excellent Re-f-use café.

 

Trustees met last week and – after debate and careful consideration – the decision was taken to actively pursue the lease on a property in Chester le Street with an aim to moving in the summer of 2022. Whilst there are still many hurdles to overcome to get this property over the line, it appears to be the best course of action in order to have a continued presence in County Durham. I understand that this outcome will be disappointing news to many of our loyal customers and supporters who value having Recyke y’bike in Durham. I do hope that you can see a benefit in having Recyke y’bike remaining in County Durham albeit a few miles outside of the city. It’s been fantastic to hear from customers how much they appreciate the service provided by Dave and the team.

 

We’ll keep you updated as things progress over the coming months and we do hope that you’ll continue to support us in our aims to put unwanted bikes to good use, get more people cycling and more people enabled to carry out their own repairs so that more bikes can provide joy and freedom for longer.

Could you be our Trainee Mechanic?

We’re recruiting a Trainee Mechanic at our Byker branch. It’s a full time (35 hour) post paid at minimum wage. Full training and access to accredited qualifications is included so it’s ideal for anyone looking to get started in the industry. For an application pack or to arrange a discussion about the role please email sara@recyke.bike. The closing date for applications is Friday 8th October.