Bring out yer bikes: Yorkshire-set voluntary organisation Crank It Up has just opened its second Cycle re Cycle workshop, recycling unwanted bikes and encouraging more people to cycle more often. Jonathon Harker speaks to the project about how obesity fears led to its creation...
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Crank It Up’s second workshop opened last month. Was that in response to demand?
Yes. Cycle re Cycle is only 18 months old and we originally had the workshop in Halifax.

Through the support of the Bradford University Students Union we opened a shop in the university selling recycled bikes and parts. This brought us enquiries from people who wanted to help out but did not want to travel to Halifax – one of whom volunteered at the Bradford Resource Centre, which had an empty basement that we used. We are now fitting out two rooms to sell recycled bikes from.

Despite being a part-time voluntary project, we have held approximately 130 sessions already this year.

Both our Halifax and Bradford recycling workshops have received O2 It's Your Community Awards, with Halifax finishing in the top 15 nationally.

Can you explain the relationship between Cycle re Cycle and Crank it Up?
Crank it Up Cycling Opportunities for All is a voluntary project formed five years ago with the aim to encourage people to cycle more, and to enjoy its health, leisure and environmental benefits.

One of our greatest assets is a fleet of bikes to suit most people’s needs; we do this to exclude as few people as possible.

We have too often seen young people riding bikes that are poorly maintained and, on some occasions, dangerous. On a trip to the local waste refuse site, I saw a container full of bikes that were going to be melted down. This caused me to think that there must be something that could be done – hence Cycle re Cycle was formed to provide low-cost cycles.

What was behind the foundation of Crank it Up?
The voluntary project was formed due to the vast amount of publicity around obesity, and the overwhelming evidence that cycling is actually the best way to fight it. Building on this we worked with older people, families, the visually impaired and schools/youth communities.

We also provide on-road bike ability training in Bradford Primary Schools, and have worked with companies like Yorkshire Building Society, NCP and Yorkshire Dales National Parks Authority. We’ve also worked with projects like Action for the Blind, Henshaws College for the Blind, Federation of Disability Sports Organisations, Bradford Primary Care Trust, Bernardos and Age Concern, to mention just a few.

How is the project funded?

We charge groups for our sessions, but this does not cover our overheads. Funding has come from O2, Yorkshire Building Society, Bradford Primary Care
Trust, Sovereign Health Care, Emmandjay Charitable Trust, Tesco, Age Concern and Help the Aged.

Does the firm get involved in other voluntary work in the cycle world, like Bike Week?
We were part of Bradford Council and the CTC’s Bike Fest. We had a meeting with the local CTC Cycling Champions representative, who is interested in the pedal-powered fairground that we are building over the winter.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
We would like to thank all of our supporters and funding partners, but where do we start? It would fill BikeBiz if we thanked them all individually...

I’d like to say a big thanks to Adam Hart, David and Aileen McGlynn, and to congratulate Aileen for breaking another world record. Thank you to all our funding partners, volunteers, cycling coaches, Bal and Mike and the Management Committee at the Resource Center, and those who will fund us in the future.

If any shops in West Yorkshire have old stock that they cannot get rid of, we’d really appreciate it.

Quick-fire questions...
What is the philosophy behind the company?
More bums on saddles enjoying the many health, leisure and environmental benefits associated with cycling.

Is the firm staffed entirely by volunteers?

The vast majority of our work is achieved by volunteers, but when we hold a cycling session we buy in a qualified cycling coach as the majority of our cycling sessions are during the day when our volunteers are at work.

What common faults do the bikes have when brought to the workshop?
Rust, which to a degree we can deal with, flat/perished tyres and gears that do not work anymore.

What are the long-term ambitions for Crank it Up?
In the long term, we hope to gain funding so we can employ a full-time project development officer or cycling coach, and open another Cycle re Cycle workshop.

Telephone: 01274 779 003
Opening times: Monday to Thursday 18.30 to 20.30

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