Where have I been? Well, since May of 2012, I’ve been working for Sustrans. Initially this was just three days a week, but from September 2013, this turned into a full-time gig. Basically I was being paid to do the stuff that I rant about here, but in a much more cooperative, team-player kind of way. There was a clear conflict of interest here, so I knocked the blogging on the head.
But yesterday was my last day at Sustrans.
In the last four years I’ve learnt a whole lot about how government, the DfT, and local authorities operate, and I will be writing some of that stuff down here. In some areas, I’ll still need to mind my Ps & Qs though, as I still have a job in this area: Sometimes, with the world as is, you’ve got to shake the hand that feeds you.
Yep. As of today I’m running Recyke Y’Bike.
This is a small Northeast charity based in Byker. We take donated bikes from local residents, and put them to good use:
- Hundreds of bikes a year are sent to Africa for development projects and microfinance businesses. This is aid from people in the Northeast that turns into ethical, sustainable trade, doing amazing things for poorer parts of the world. When you consider that the Northeast of England is one of the poorest places in Europe, it warms my cockles to think that people are so generous in their donations to Recyke.
- We recycle a whole bunch of bikes to sell locally. This pays the wages of the small staff team, as well as covering costs of premises, shipping all those other bikes to Africa, etc. We sell bikes for anything from £60 to several hundred pounds depending on the spec. Our average price is a shade over £100, and we sell kids bikes for £50. Basically, we’re selling bikes that are a whole lot better than an Asda special, which have been assembled by a professional mechanic, for a little more than you’d expect to pay for the cheapest bike in the supermarket. This is affordable transport for the masses.
- Sometimes we get bike exotica donated that has a small, but keen market across the country. Stuff like tandems, Moultons, things with carbon fibre parts, high quality vintage bikes, etc. These are sold via our Ebay shop.
So you know how you always need one more bike than you currently have? Turns out I’ve got a new version of that formula:
n = n+300