Broken Spoke Bike Co-op
|Mission Statement||The Broken Spoke Bike Co-op is a social enterprise that aims to address social inequality, create a healthier environment, and strengthen the culture of bicycling in Oxfordshire by teaching people from all backgrounds to become self-sufficient and proficient in bicycle maintenance and riding.|
Broken Spoke Bike Co-op is ... a social enterprise in Oxford, UK that teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to ride and repair bicycles. We are creating a culture of cycling in Oxfordshire through an open workshop of tools, new and secondhand parts, mechanical advice, cycle confidence training, volunteer opportunities, film nights, talks, and more.
42 Pembroke Street
+44 7551 711 746
The closure of the Oxford Cycle Workshop in February 2012 left Oxford in dire need of a DIY bicycle repair shop. With the assistance of 9 people from the community, we were able to purchase the assets (tools, parts, equipment, crockery) of OCW. By September 2012, we opened our doors at community centres and farmer's markets, promising to recreate a culture of cycling and a "fix-it-don't-throw-it-away" mentality within Oxford.
Eventually we became a multi-stakeholder Industrial and Provident Society, in other words we're co-operative social enterprise that operates for the benefit of our members and for the community. Members are anyone who gives a substantial time commitment to the organisation.
In January 2013 we moved into the Story Museum in central Oxford. It is a fantastic and creative space, full of strange passageways, intriguing dark corners, and a staff that is as funny as they are welcoming. The existence of a bike shop in a museum is a strange one, but it works. The Story Museum is currently under construction and will fully open to the public some time in 2015.
Great strides have been taken in the first year of operations, and we have now doubled our hours, offered film nights and talks, and are greatly increasing our focus on cycle confidence training. Today we still believe that bikes in Oxford are more than just an occasional distraction, they are part of our city's soul.
Current hours (as of summer 2013) are Fridays and Saturdays from 12-6pm, 1st & 3rd Wednesdays from 6-9pm (for women and trans only), and 2nd & 4th Thursdays from 7.30-10pm. For just £7 (£5 conc.) we offer access to parts, tools, professional mechanical advice, and unlimited tea and biscuits.
This is our longest-running programme. For women and trans-gender only, we offer 45 minutes of taught session (from repairing gears to making jewellery out of bike parts), a light dinner, and 2 hours of DIY bicycle fixing. It is led by a team of volunteers, and encourages women and trans to enter discussion about bikes as well as women's issues in the larger community.
We sell all parts necessary to fix most bicycle problems. We also have a small selection of jackets, hi vis, lights, locks, pumps, and assorted accessories for cycling.
Our classes range from Bike Mechanics 101 to Wheel Building, and include everything in between. They are all taught by professional bike mechanics who are also passionate about teaching, and we have developed a curriculum and teaching style that emphasises hands-on learning.
Occasionally we run build-a-bike classes for the public, where people come in at 9am and leave at 6pm with a functioning bicycle. We also run this programme in conjunction with Crisis Skylight Centre, a local homeless and vulnerably housed resource charity. Their members gain valuable life skills that may lead to employment, and they also receive a bicycle in the process.
Through a partnership with the city the co-op recovers lost and abandoned bicycles from throughout Oxford. These bikes are either fixed by volunteers and sold in the shop, or they are stripped for useful parts. We also reclaim bicycles that are abandoned on trains in the Oxford Train Station.
Anyone is welcome to volunteer at the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op. Tasks include stripping and fixing abandoned bicycles, open workshop assistant, research and reviewing local cycling issues, distributing flyers, mobile mechanics, and farmer's markets or festivals.