Saturday, 3 May 2014

Like a bicycle without wheels...

A community bike workshop without a workshop is like, well, a bicycle without wheels...

And that is the plight facing Spindles and Sprockets, Corsham's one and only community bike workshop. Their current home in the local community centre is being knocked down in a couple of weeks as part of the development of a new community campus housing the library, the leisure centre, a cafe and lots more. It will be an amazing asset for the town in every respect, apart from its lack of space for a bike workshop.

To commemorate the end of an era, we went along to visit Spindles this morning. Husband has been involved with Spindles from the start, and on Saturdays we've learned that "I'm just going round to Spindles for an hour or two" really means "I'll be messing around with bikes all day."


Yes, it's a perfect man cave, complete with coffee and doughnuts, and males of all ages (from 11 - 70+). But it's much, much more than that.

They have serviced hundreds of bikes and sold reliable bikes at reasonable prices. All the bikes sold are ones that have been donated or rescued, and repairs are done using recycled parts where possible. 'Keep Corsham cycling' is Spindles' mantra and they have certainly done their very best to achieve this


Several youngsters have gained invaluable practical skills.

Josh, now in his last year of school,
 has been a key member of the group from its early days.

There have been monthly bike rides organised by the group. These are family friendly rides for all ages and usually there is not a hint of lycra to be seen.

Several local schools have benefited from Dr Bike sessions that Spindles have run in conjunction with Sustrans.

Countless doughnuts have been eaten over the last four years.

But all this is in jeopardy unless the group can find a new home. Months of searching for suitable premises have drawn a blank.

We're all hoping for a last minute miracle. Otherwise there will be an awful lot of bikes to rehome.



If you're local and you have ideas or can help spread the word, please get in touch! The Spindles website is here.

And if you want to know more about the work of Spindles and Sprockets, take a look at their new film which has been produced to aid the quest for a new home.


17 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great organization. Hope it finds a new home soon.

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  2. Oh, that is sad. I hope they can find a new place and very soon.

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  3. Such a shame as my youngest would absolutely love it.

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    1. Hopefully they'll find somewhere soon so youngsters like your son can benefit.

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  4. Oh no! I hope they find a new home. I just recently discovered that there's a community bike workshop in my neighborhood - they just celebrated their first anniversary. I don't have any idea how this sort of thing works "across the pond" but the one in my neighborhood is part of a larger not-for-profit organization that teaches kids about bikes. They receive both public and private funding and they have all sorts of programs for disadvantaged youth - they take them on bike rides, and they even have an "earn a bike" program where kids take classes on bicycle safety and repair and basically build their own bike from donated parts... and at the end of the program they get to keep the bike. Anyhow, here's their web page: http://www.luckybikesrecyclery.org/ maybe there would be something there to give you some ideas? Here's hoping they find a way to keep it going, because the world needs more bikes!

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    1. Thanks for the link Cat. I shall pass it on.

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  5. As wonderful and much needed the new community centre plans are, how totally illogical and short-sighted are. To effectively "write off" a thriving and vibrant project in this way is immoral to my way of thinking. To think of the skills being learned and shared and the values being imparted is what community is all about, not to mention the friendships which have grown and enriched lives in the process. Making do, mending, repairing, restoring and sharing are all values that need to be fostered and relearned in our throw-away society today .. and this equally applies to people and not "just" bikes! I do so so hope they find new premises and this wonderful work will continue.

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    1. I suspect part of the problem is that the group had other premises at the time the 'campus' was being planned, so didn't bid for space but you're right the project would have made a great contribution to the new campus.

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  6. Hi i love this post and the idea of spindles-i have shared to help spread the word.My question is unrelated but i hope you can help.I have a blogger blog and want to get sharing buttons like yours-could you tell me how you did it please?thank you in advance Helen x

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    1. Thanks for sharing the message Helen. I put the sharing buttons on via the 'Layout' option in Blogger I think. I will go back and see if I can remember how I did it and then visit you to tell you how!

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  7. I've passed the message on. I hope that you will be able to find a new home for such a valuable project.
    Good luck
    Stella (Devizes)

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    1. Thanks ever so much Stella. I'll report back when they have a new home.

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  8. I hope the bike shop can find a new home.
    We had a similar situation in our community, a new community center replaced an older building, but it squeezed out a couple of locally run businesses and services. While the new building is indeed beautiful, it somehow seems lacking in character, without the vintage/thrift shop, dance classes, and music lessons. So much for progress, sometimes.

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