Bikes are not disposable items!

For many of our customers, buying a refurbished bike is an environmental choice. Riding any bike is a great choice for the environment, and a refurbished bike has a much lower carbon footprint than a new bike. Add in the benefit of reducing waste going to landfill and it seems like a no-brainer! 

A fully refurbished bike ready to serve another owner!

However, we often hear customers say that they’re buying a cheap bike from Recyke y’bike as they’re planning on leaving it outside, or they’re at uni and they plan to leave it behind at the end of term. They see the bikes as short term, low value investments which are disposable. This makes our hearts break a little bit. 

 

A well maintained bike can easily last for 30 years. If you’re buying a refurbished bike from Recyke y’bike it may well have already served it’s previous owner(s) well for 10 or 15 years. And with a bit of care it will serve you for another 15 years! Or, if you move on from the area or move on from your bike, you can donate it back to Recyke y’bike, a great way to ‘pay it forwards’; enabling someone else to enjoy the bike! 

 

Sadly, a significant proportion of donated bikes which have been left outside or haven’t been maintained are past the point where they can be saved and instead, are broken down for scrap and parts. This is avoidable! 

 

There are some simple steps you can take to keep your bike in good working order for you, or someone else, to enjoy for years to come.

 

  1. Protect it from the elements. If you can’t store your bike inside or in a dry space, invest in a waterproof cover. They’re cheap to buy and make a big difference! 
  2. Protect it from thieves. Lock up your bike and your wheels! Locking your frame with a D lock is the best way to keep it secure. An additional chain or cable lock for your wheels will protect them. 
  3. Clean and lubricate your chain. This 5 minute job will make a huge difference. 
  4. Invest in a bike service. If you ride your bike regularly (and we hope that you do), book it in for a service twice a year. At Recyke y’bike, a basic service costs £40 and could dramatically extend the life of your bike and save you money in the long run. A replacement chain costs as little as £10. A worn chain will cause wear to your cassette, leading to bigger bills in the medium term. 

 

Make the ethical, environmental choice. Care for your bike and it will provide many years of service, to you or to someone else! For more tips on bike maintenance check out the Recyke y’bike YouTube channel or videos section on our Facebook page!

SN

 

Thank you to our Crowdfunder supporters!

We did it!!!! Thank you to everyone who helped us reach and exceed our target. The final Crowdfunder total was an amazing £5,300!!!! We’re very grateful for all of the support we’ve had and we’re looking forward to arranging rewards for those who purchased them.

17 North Road is open!

Our new Durham location is now open for business! Servicing and repairs can be dropped off and collected Wednesday to Saturday 12-2. Bike sales are by appointment. Please contact the shop via Facebook message, email (durham.shop@recyke.bike) or call 07787540304 to arrange. Huge thank you to the staff and volunteers at Durham who have created a fabulous space in a short amount of time on a minuscule budget! And to Durham County Council for their ongoing support.

It’s Here – The Energy Saving Trust’s ‘Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme’.

Following lots of anticipation, the Government finally announced that the ‘Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme’ would be open for voucher applications from Tuesday 28 July at 23:45.

This means that you can now apply for a £50 voucher to put towards the cost of a repair (terms and conditions apply). 

The scheme is aimed at getting unused bikes back on the road.

Information about the scheme from the Department of Transport and links to take you to the Energy Saving Trust £50 voucher application can be found here…

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fix-your-bike-voucher-scheme-apply-for-a-voucher

 

Following the announcement on the 28th, Recyke y’bike have already received lots of emails and phone calls regarding this scheme. Most of the questions are asking if certain bikes and repairs can be accepted. 

Just like you, we have not yet seen the voucher application process. But we do know that there is a full list of terms and conditions and eligibility criteria provided during your voucher application process. 

Recyke y’bike also has to follow the same terms and conditions. Therefore, we cannot accept repairs that fall outside the scheme’s eligibility criteria. It’s important that Recyke y’bike follow the terms to ensure we are correctly reimbursed by the Energy Saving Trust who are administering the scheme. 

Please be patient while we get to grips with the system and its conditions.

Here is another brief recap of the basic terms. The main eligibility criteria are…

 

“The repairs must be necessary to make the bike roadworthy and fit for purpose”

 

Repairs CAN include…

 

  • Repair or replacement of tyres, tubes, wheels and related components
  • Adjust, repair or replace brake system components
  • Adjust, repair or replace transmission system components
  • Repair or replace other essential components which prevent safe use of the cycle

 

Some things NOT included in the scheme…

 

  • Replacement or upgrade of existing safe and roadworthy components
  • Replacement or repair of removable lighting accessories
  • The purchase of parts and accessories for you to repair your own bike

 

Please check our availability and turnaround times before applying for a voucher

Bikes must be repaired to meet the legal requirements of the law relating to cycle roadworthiness. This means we cannot just repair part of your bike in order to minimise costs for you. We must carry out all the repairs required to make the bike safe and roadworthy. We will give you an estimate for the total cost of repair when you drop your bike off. Your voucher will cover £50 of the total cost.

Due to the high demand for repairs across the cycle industry at the moment, only 50,000 vouchers are being released in this initial phase of the scheme.

We will create a FAQ section about the scheme as soon as we have more information and more experience of the process.

Thank You!

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who supported our Crowdfunder campaign to refurbish bikes for people on very low incomes. We’d seen a dramatic increase in referrals during lock down and with your help we raised an incredible £2,400 to cover the parts and labour needed to turn donated bikes into safe and functional bikes to assist with people’s health, well being, ability to get about and have fun! Referrals come from a wide range of workers (teachers, social workers, support workers, GPs) and bikes go to people of all ages and walks of life. It’s amazing how much difference a bike can make to someone’s quality of life and it’s great that unwanted bikes can be given a second life rather than ending up in landfill!

Coming Soon – The Energy Saving Trust’s ‘Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme’.

Do you own a bike that hasn’t been used for a while and which isn’t roadworthy? Maybe the tyres have perished or the brakes don’t work and this is preventing you from riding it? If you’ve got a bike like this, you will soon be able to apply for a £50 voucher towards the cost of repairs to get it safely back on the road.

What is the ‘Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme’?

EST

The ‘Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme’ is being set up by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to encourage more people in England to embrace cycling, to boost the number of low carbon, low pollution trips and to promote an alternative to private cars and public transport, particularly while social distancing measures are in place. 

The scheme is open to anyone who has an unused bike in need of a repair in order to make it safe to ride. 

You will be able to apply for a maximum of two vouchers per household, with each voucher worth £50 towards the overall cost repairs, per bike.

The EST are busy registering participating cycle repair businesses, and we’ll let you know as soon as the scheme is open to the public so you can apply for your £50 voucher. 

Recyke y’bike have met all the repairer eligibility criteria and are already successfully registered and set up to accept your vouchers!

workstand

What is and what isn’t covered under the scheme?

There are terms and conditions for everything, here is a brief explanation of the scheme, what is required for eligibility and what is covered…

  • The cycle owner must be over 18, with two forms of ID (photographic and address)
  • The repairs must be necessary to make the bike roadworthy and fit for purpose

 

Repairs CAN include…

 

  • Repair or replacement of tyres, tubes, wheels and related components
  • Adjust, repair or replace brake system components
  • Adjust, repair or replace transmission system components
  • Repair or replace other essential components which prevent safe use of the cycle

 

Some things NOT included in the scheme…

 

  • Replacement or upgrade of existing safe and roadworthy components
  • Replacement or repair of removable lighting accessories
  • The purchase of parts and accessories for you to repair your own bike

 

If you have a voucher, is all the repair work free?

Each bike and each repair will be different and not every bike will be repairable for £50. Some repairs will cost less and some will cost more, in some cases it could be a lot more. 

Vouchers will cover up to £50 per bike towards the service and parts that need replacement. If the final repair cost is less than £50 then you are fully covered. However, you will need to pay the remainder if the cost is greater than £50. In each case, we will give you an estimate of the total repair before accepting your bike and your voucher code.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates.

We’ll publish more information about the ‘Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme’ as soon as we have it, together with more details of the voucher process and how we are operating it. 

We really want to get as many bikes out of those garages as possible and this scheme might just give you the boost to start that journey. 

Remember, if you have a bike hanging around that you don’t ride anymore, and the scheme isn’t for you, then please consider donating it to Recyke y’bike. You can find out more about donating your bike, cash or your time here.

 

Adaptations during Covid-19 FAQs

Recyke y’bike has made several adaptations to enable us to work safely during Covid-19. Below are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions from our customers.

 

Why are appointments needed?

Appointments help us in two ways. 1. It means we limit the number of people in the shop at any one time so that we can observe safe social distancing. 2. It enables us to match the number of bikes available to the number of customers to avoid customers making futile and unnecessary journeys. We’re currently experiencing far higher demand for bikes than we are able to meet. 

 

How long is each appointment?

We book customers in for 15 minute time slots. That gives each customer time to test ride several bikes and make a decision. 

 

Do I need an appointment for a bike repair?

No, bike repairs and servicing can be dropped off Wednesday to Saturday 12-2. 

 

What type of bikes can I expect?

All of our stock is on our Facebook shop page and updated daily so you can check out what bikes we have before you come for your appointment. Please be aware that unless you are the first appointment of the day (12pm) the bike you might like may be sold before you arrive. We do our best to keep a good selection of stock in but are limited by what people choose to donate. 

 

How do I know what size bike I need?

Here is a rough guide to bike sizes, but please be aware that bike sizes do vary by bike manufacturer and type of bike: https://www.raleigh.co.uk/bike-size-guide/

 

How much do bikes cost?

The average price of an adult bike is £140

 

How do I book an appointment?

Appointments are available to book on Fridays from 8am by phone (leave a voicemail), the contact form on our website or Facebook message. Be quick – they go very fast!

 

Can you deliver my bike?

Sorry – we haven’t got capacity to deliver bikes. 

 

How much will my bike cost to fix?

When you bring your bike in a mechanic will assess it and give you a no obligation quote. Please don’t pone or send us photos on Facebook, our office team are knowledgeable but can’t give you an accurate assessment. 

 

How long will it take to get my bike repaired?

Turn around time is currently 1-2 weeks. If we get too busy we might ask you to take your bike away and bring it back the following week as we only have a finite amount of bike storage. 

 

Can I buy parts?

At the moment we’re not selling bike parts. Because of worldwide demand, parts are currently more hard to come by. Staff only have limited capacity so are focusing energy on selling and repairing bikes at the moment.

Ride well in the wet

By RWW – volunteer mechanic at Recyke y Bike

No sane cyclist wants to ride in the wet, but sometimes it’s the only option. With the right clothes and a well-maintained bike, it can even be fun! But before setting off make sure you are aware of these six hazards:

Skidding – If it’s wet lower your tyre pressure by 10psi or so which increases tyre road contact and grip. Try and give yourself a longer stopping distance than you would need when dry. Some tyres are good in wet conditions, others aren’t – your bike shop can advise. If there is ice, the best option is to abandon your ride unless you have specialist tyres and experience. 

Punctures – Wet tyres pick up small sharp objects easily (e.g. glass, flint and thorns from hedge cutting). These are often invisible when wet and can quickly penetrate a tyre. Puncture resistant tyres are good but not fool proof, so best pack a spare inner tube and/or suitable puncture repair kit. Oh, and don’t forget your tyre levers! Again, your bike shop can advise 

Poor braking – In the good old days bike wheels had steel rims and hard rubber brake blocks. These didn’t work well in the wet. Nowadays, aluminium rims with specialised brake compounds make riding in the wet safer and more reliable. In addition, technology has given us disk brakes. However, the compounds used for disc pads are not similarly effective. For example, sintered pads can be very durable but less efficient than organic compounds in the wet. Your bike shop can advise on the trade-off between durability and braking effectiveness

wet ride 1

Standing water – These pools may conceal rim bending or bone breaking potholes; ride with extreme caution (or preferably avoid) any stretch where you can’t see the bottom 

Impaired visibility – Make sure you are not invisible to drivers who will be struggling just to see where they are going. Use a flashing rear light and a front light both for daytime and night-time riding. In addition, chose clothing with reflective stripes and patches. When applied to leggings your peddling motion will quickly catch a driver’s attention.

Road spray – Everyone ends up filthy if you don’t use mudguards when roads are wet. More worryingly, where the road surface is contaminated by bacteria (e.g. through farmland) a bad tasting mouthful can cause gastro-enteritis. Many bikes are sold without mudguards but can have them fitted. If you are unsure what type would be best, ask your bike shop.

With good preparation and sensible bike handling skills you can manage these hazards. Importantly, choose the right clothes and make sure your bike is up to the task.

The right clothes

“There is no such thing as bad weather only unsuitable clothing”, and this is as true for cyclists as it is for hill walkers! If you are new to cycling an old anorak will do as a temporary measure but your priority should be a quality, breathable/vented cycling jacket. Avoid having it long at the front or it will catch the saddle when you dismount. To shed water effectively the general principle is for your clothes to overlap like roof tiles (e.g. sleeves over gloves, leggings over socks, etc).

Cycling Weekly often has reviews online of the latest, tight fitting roadie clothes while reviews for the more loosely tailored touring cyclist can be accessed from Cycling UK.

Wet ride 2

Many cyclists use similar clothes for riding in cold or wet weather. The trick is to use the right number of layers (generally between one and four) under your cycling jacket. Too many and you will overheat and get soaked in perspiration. The Met Office’s “feels like temperature” is a good guide for how many short or long-sleeved layers you need for a ride. It’s better to start off a little cool rather than toasty warm. If in doubt, wear a small wool scarf or a buff. These are easily removed if you overheat.

Layers may be made from synthetic materials or from merino wool. Merino wool is a great alternative because after a day’s ride it doesn’t smell sweaty like most synthetics. Merino wool layers are woven from fine, strong yarns and are available in various weights to suit all weathers.

Over trousers are popular with some riders, particularly those with e-bikes. They keep the rain off but restrict pedalling. They can also get uncomfortably hot. Lycra tights are a better alternative for more powerful pedalling. Buy a thinner pair for cool summer days and warmer ones for the winter. Some Lycra tights are surface treated to help repel water but dry out quickly with underlying body heat. Shorts are good for warm days when it doesn’t matter if your legs get wet! Whatever you do don’t wear jeans for cycling in the rain – unless you like being cold, wet and miserable.

If your feet are cold and wet, it’s a sure-fire recipe for a dismal ride. To prevent this there are three things you can do: 

  • Pre-treat your cycling shoes a waterproofing spray (e.g. Scotchguard) 
  • Wear merino wool socks. If sufficiently thick they stay comfortably warm both in winter and summer – even if wet, but your cycling shoes must be roomy enough to accommodate them
  • Resort to waterproof socks (e.g. Sealskinz), overshoes or simply plastic bags!

Thick gloves are not a good idea because you need to operate the gears, brakes and maybe a bike computer. Waterproof gloves are preferred by some mountain bikers, although others find their hands get hot and sweaty. Gloves made from breathable, waterproof materials (e.g. Goretex) offer excellent comfort with minimal bulk. Take care to get the right size. Remember tight gloves constrict not only hand movement but also blood flow. Ideally, the glove fingertips should have conductive pads to allow mobile touch screens to be operated. 

Bike helmets usually have holes for ventilation. These also let rain in. A cycling cap or buff worn under your helmet will help keep the rain off your head and a peak will keep rain off your glasses. In colder weather a skull cap or balaclava are more effective, although less fashionable!

With cycling clothes it’s best to try and buy from a shop. If you buy online make sure the company allows for easy returns.

Do right by y’bike

We have already mentioned the importance of mudguards to reduce road spray. As well as being messy and antisocial when riding with others, the spray can corrode your bike, particularly in winter after roads have been salted. 

Your chain is vulnerable to corrosion and mudguards, and most chainguards offer limited protection. So, thorough cleaning and lubrication are key to keeping it in tip top condition. 

Chain degreasers are now big business and certainly make the outside of your chain look clean. You can even buy chain “washing machines” which use significant volumes of degreaser. However, one leading chain manufacturer cautions against this practice because it can strip out the chain’s lubricating grease and ruin it. They recommend using only a small amount of degreaser and rubbing the chain vigorously with a cloth. The chain must be dry before applying chain lubricant individually to each roller so that none are missed. Dry lube is great if you are a dry weather cyclist. For wet weather use a wet lube. Look here for more chain care tips.

Sadly, many riders don’t bother to clean their bike after a wet ride, and next time are faced by dried on dirt and corroding components. This muck gets more and more difficult to clean and some cyclists then resort to a power washer. Not only can this force water into a bike’s bearings and ruin them, it may also damage paintwork.  

Wouldn’t it be great if your bike repelled water and dirt? Well, now it’s possible using Bike Protect from Muc Off. Of course, you should still hose the bike down with a fine spray after a ride, but the dirt comes away quickly and easily. A word of caution: don’t get Bike Protect on any of your braking surfaces (discs, rims, brake shoes or blocks). This is best done by removing the wheels and covering the brake calipers with cling film before spraying. Fortunately, Bike Protect lasts many rides before having to be reapplied to a well cleaned bike.

 

So, next time it rains make sure you are fully prepared and have a great ride!