Reading Bike Kitchen (RBK) is an entirely volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation founded to encourage cycling by making low cost bicycle maintenance available to all. You can find out more via our website: www.readingbicyclekitchen.org.
I’m hoping everyone has heard about, visited or even volunteered with this fantastic community facility which not only supports making cycling more open to all, but also has huge environ-mental benefit through recycling and re-using!
Did you know we’ve now been operating in the new premises at the Queen’s Arms for most of the year and undertaking lots of mobile activities as well? Read on to learn more about our fantastic work and how you can get involved!
The objective of Reading Bicycle Kitchen is to help people in the Reading area to keep their bikes safe and working well, so that they can enjoy all the benefits of cycling. We are a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation staffed entirely by volunteers, who love what they do!
We are a ‘we help you fix it’ bicycle work-shop. You supply the problematic bike and we help you with the tools, tips and support you need to mend it. Maybe you have a puncture, need to adjust your brakes or gears, replace worn out parts, or upgrade with some shiny new bits? Let us help you.
We are very cost conscious, so we reuse, repair, and recycle whenever we can, and only charge £5/hr for full workshop and facilities. We have more tools than in your Dad’s shed!
Through running weekly pop-ups at the Queen’s Arms, and attending a range of local fairs and events along with regular sessions at University of Reading (during term time), RBK has helped keep over 500 bikes on the road, from basic safety checks and tweaks to carrying out major part replacement surgery!
We are very fortunate to get a lot of bikes and related items given to us, and as a duty to the kind donors we ensure that we make the most of them. The majority of bikes are refurbished by our keen volunteers and then resold, at very reasonable prices, to local people.
In the past year we have helped recycle somewhere in excess of 280 bikes in this way.
Nothing goes to waste; if a bike is beyond economic repair we strip it of all the useful parts, which can then be used as spares to fix customers’ bikes.
Sometimes donations are too nice, or collectible, to fit with our general work. These are cleaned up and offered to a wider audience through eBay. In 18 months we have sold over 200 items this way, ranging from a brake lever to a full carbon mountain bike, and it has made a significant contribution to funding the project.
We also benefitted from some additional Cycling UK Big Bike Revival grant funding this year, which enabled all the additional community events to be run and funded the costs of the Queen’s Arms during this period.
How can I help?
Come along and volunteer. There are lots of ways you can get involved aside from being a mechanic: customer support, marketing and finances all need to be run besides the fun stuff!
If you’d like to learn more, we are really welcoming to newcomers and you can get lots of useful tips by working alongside others with every tool at your disposal!
You could also donate a bike or any good second hand parts we might find useful.
And remember to spread the word to friends and family about the Reading Bike Kitchen, so more people get to know about us.
And above all, let’s keep Reading cycling!