No two community bike workshops are the same. They’ve been set up by different people, for different reasons. Bristol Bike Project grew out of a smaller scheme, set up to recycle second-hand bikes and provide them free of charge to refugees. Broken Spoke (as Ellie’s recent blog post tells us) was set up by three people who’d volunteered at a previous workshop in Oxford, and felt bereft when it closed. Edinburgh Bike Station began as an informal bike swap at a local primary school.
Some are charities; some are social enterprises; some are run as co-operatives, where no one’s in charge, and all workers have a stake in the business. And most have evolved organically around the communities they serve, responding to whatever needs they identify – which means that in certain places the focus will be more on refugees; in others more on disadvantaged young people or ethnic minority communities. Some train people to ride bikes, others focus more on fixing them.