Our Fix it to Ride project is in full swing, with busy volunteer sessions on Thursdays, prize winners every week, and bikes getting their final tweaks before being given away to young asylum seekers!
Congratulations to all our May prize winners including Zayd (pictured), Liam and Finn – we hope your bikes are running smoothly and looking shiny thanks to your new kit – no excuses now! Don’t forget you can enter the prize draw by coming along to our workshop or a Pedallers Arms session and filling in a short survey.
We’re also delighted to announce that thanks to funding from the Allen Lane Foundation, we’ll be able to carry on our Thursday volunteer sessions for an extra 3 months after the City Connect project ends in July. This means we’ll be able to continue supporting people to develop their skills, as well as producing many more bikes to give away to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Cycling season has properly begun with loads of events lined up for Bike Week and Big Bike Revival! Here’s what we’re up to for BBR2018. Also check out Cycling UKs website for full listings of events nationwide.
Bike Night at Open Source Arts: Wednesday 13th June 5-8pm #BikeWeek
Visit Dr Bike for a free bike health check and minor repairs while you enjoy delicious veggie & vegan treats at Open Source Arts. At 8pm we’ll set off on a ‘Reclaim the Canal’ ride into the city centre. Read more about the event on Leeds Inspired website.
Women & Engineering Day at Armley Mills Industrial Museum: Saturday 23rd June 11am-2pm
Our Dr Bike will be back at the museum giving free bike health checks and minor repairs. Peruse the museum’s exhibitions while you wait, including special guests talks and tours themed around women in engineering. Check out the details here.
Sale Day Extravaganzas! At Leeds Bike Mill: Saturday 16th June & Saturday 21st July, 10am-3pm
Our regular monthly sale days will be extra special in June & July, with free bike health checks, minor repairs with some free parts to help keep the cost down, and the return of cafe corner!
At all of these events we’ll be running the Big Bike Revival tombola once again, with lots of chances to win snazzy cycling prizes that’ll help keep you on two wheels this summer. Pedal on!
Are you a professional driver or do you know someone who is? We’re inviting van / lorry / bus / taxi drivers or driving instructors, to experience the road from a cyclists perspective in this free 3-hour course this May! Contact us for details or register here.
At Leeds Bike Mill we usually focus on providing affordable bikes and teaching people to maintain them. But with the Restorative Roads project we wanted to address a different issue; road safety. We know cyclists and drivers do not always see eye to eye, so we decided to do something to help towards this issue and organise cycle training for professional drivers in Leeds.
Led by cycling instructors from Cycle North, the drivers will participate in a 3 hour session where they learn about cyclists’ road positioning and why bike riders use the road in certain ways. Above all we hope this will inspire a sense of empathy – research suggests that drivers with experience of cycling are more likely to understand cyclists’ movements better and feel positive towards them. This is particularly important in West Yorkshire, where the number of deaths and injuries per miles cycled is roughly double the national average.
Please sign up if you are a professional driver in Leeds, and help us to reach as many drivers as possible by spreading the word to anyone you know who drives for work – organisations or individuals – we want to fill all the spaces on the sessions! The training sessions are taking place on the 8th, 10th and 14th May, in the mornings or afternoons.
As a wise bike mechanic once said; ‘To fix your bike, you need the right tool for the job!’ Well luckily for cyclists in Leeds, for three nights of the week you can find all the tools you need at the Pedallers Arms workshop, but what about when you just need to tweak something before you ride to work in the morning, or even whilst out on your ride? We know that tools can be expensive, so we decided to give some away to the lucky winners of our Fix it to Ride prize draws.
From now until July, if you come and take part in a session at Bike Mill or Pedallers Arms, whether it’s a bike recycling volunteer session, a bike maintenance course or a DIY repair drop in, you can enter your name into the prize draw by simply filling in a quick survey. We’ll pull winners out of a pannier every month and you could get your hands on a load of lovely useful stuff!
Prize packs will include items such as
– chain wear gauge
– mini pump
– multi tool
– cleaning brushes and liquids
– tyre levers and puncture repair kit
– adjustable spanner
This giveaway and the rest of Leeds Bike Mill’s Fix it to Ride project is funded by CityConnect. The CityConnect programme is funded through the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant (CCAG) and delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Don’t let the rain put you off cycling to work this week, because your daily commute could win you some awesome prizes!
Just join Love to Ride for free, simply log your rides – commute legs or leisure trips – and you could bag yourself some genuinely great cycling goodies, or even a European city break (Yes, really… that rain-soaked journey will become a mere distant memory).
As you may know we recently took on our very own workshop – above the awesome Pedallers’ Arms workshop – a project we volunteer for and where Bike Mill was born.
We’ve been tinkering around with designs and plans for Bike Mill’s new space, and are ready to get stuck in with some of the major works.
First sale day of 2018 – February 17th
To focus on the refurbishment, we’re going to pause our bike recycling activities, which means sadly we won’t be holding a bike sale day in January. But, we’ll be back to normal in February – or even better than normal – as we make the most of our new tool boards, benches and efficient work space!
We’ll continue to run courses in 2018 on an approximately monthly basis – kicking off with a 4 hour Intro to Bike Maintenance on Saturday 27th January, and a 2 day Advanced Bike Maintenance on February 3-4th weekend. All current course dates and booking forms can be found on our Training Courses page.
By the way – in case you hadn’t heard – you can also now buy a course place as a gift for a friend using this voucher order form!
We’re delighted to be officially launching a Leeds Bike Mill gift voucher! Inspired by folks who have bought a course place as a present, we thought we’d make it even more special by creating a voucher you can include in your gift.
So if you fancy doing something different, why not give the gift of cycle maintenance training this Christmas! Vouchers can be ordered via this online form. Simply fill in the details and we’ll send through payment instructions.
Chip in and help make someone else’s day
As 2017 comes to an end, we’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the Bike Mill Bursary Scheme this year. Over the year, 24 people chipped in a bit extra to their course place, making an incredible six places on our 2-day course available for people who wouldn’t otherwise been able to attend. Awesome.
Donations to the scheme can be made whether you order a voucher or book your own place through Brown Paper Tickets. This scheme is really only made possible by you, so it goes to show even small donations add up to make a big difference. Thanks everyone!
We are very sad to say we ourselves had a bike frame stolen from outside our workshop today.
We think it was taken at approximate 2.26pm, from Mabgate Green, possibly by someone on foot, wearing a stripy top. It had been freshly spray painted black (and was happily drying in the sun), so if anyone saw someone in the area carrying a black frame and forks it is very likely to be our bike! We’d be grateful to hear from anyone who may have seen something (Our contact details).
Bike theft in Leeds is sadly all too regular. We advise our customers to securly lock their bikes (and ideally wheels) with a strong d-lock. We also give the bike’s unique frame number with the receipt so the bike can be definitely identified if it is found again. If you haven’t noted yours down already, you can often found underneath your bike on the bit of the frame in between the pedals.
This frame was being refurbished for a person who had specifically chosen it, which is why we’re extra sad. It’s not a particularly valuable frame (just a classic steel job), but it was on its way to a new home. If we don’t see it again, we hope it will be well loved by whoever ends up next riding it.
Our monthly bike sale days are on a regular pattern of the third Saturday of every month, so if you know anyone who needs a bike, please let them know we’re open every month, third Saturday, 10am-2pm! Or share the August event with your friends on Facebook…
On the recent 100 mile ride (a first for one Bike Miller!) we met a volunteer ride leader who leads women’s rides for all levels of experience. She put us onto British Cycling’s list of rides for all ages, experience level, mixed & women’s only. Just plug your area into the search box and see what’s happening near you…
We were also delighted to hear that one of the groups who participated in our project with female asylum seekers and refugees has set up a cycling club! Find out how Cycling UK can help you set up a group too. Ladies can also check out local cycling opportunities (and loads of other activities) through the Leeds Girls Can website.
Courses & Volunteer days
We’ve just set some autumn dates for our Intro and 2-day courses – booking is available via our Training Courses page. Remember, no experience is needed – just energy & enthusiasm! Practice your skills already learned at one of our volunteer days, the next date is Thursday 7th September 10am-2pm. Here’s what we’ll get up to…
A couple of months ago we offered our first set of courses specifically for women, taught by women. The feedback was lovely, and a really useful reminder of how the teaching environment can affect how we learn. We haven’t set more dates yet, but we’re really happy to respond to what you want, so if you’re interested please get in touch. Here’s what a couple of participants said (emphasis added):
[A] really hands on [course], supportive and tailored to what the group wanted to get out of it. Friendly inclusive environment where felt ok to ask ‘silly’ questions. Also really valuable to have a women-only session, as empowering to be taught by female mechanics and created a less intimidating/more inclusive environment than (some) bike hubs. Fantastic course overall!
Both mechanics were very knowledgeable, friendly and understanding. This is why having a women’s space to learn bike skills is brilliant. It really highlighted the importance of being able to see yourself in a position in order to believe you can do it. I have often found myself afraid of asking too many questions with mechanics who are men as there is pre-supposed knowledge on mechanics or the fear of looking ignorant, when actually you just have never had the opportunity to learn about mechanics. The mechanics were not only great teachers, but they were reassuring that they started off in our position and therefore instilled self belief too!!! Amazing session – more of the same please!!!!!!
For our newest project Bike Mill are branching out into a slightly different part of the cycling world – road safety. As we spend so much time encouraging people to get out on bikes, we also wanted to do our bit to try and make Leeds’ roads safer for everyone.
This project will engage with drivers using a restorative approach – working with them to understand the impact of their driving on vulnerable road users, especially cyclists.
The core of the project will be offering professional drivers the opportunity to attend a training programme, comprising a cycle safety seminar and on-road cycle training. This could act as useful professional development for driving instructors, van or taxi drivers.
Another aspect will be organising a number of ‘restorative conferences’, in which people involved in vehicle-cycle collisions will be invited to meet, be heard, and discuss the impact of the incident.
Restorative practice is becoming increasingly recognised as an effective way to approach justice. Rather than simply punishing the responsible party, this approach personalises incidences of crime or conflict, by providing victims and those responsible the opportunity to meet, share their perspective and explore joint solutions. You can read more about it here.
Above all this project aims to build empathy and improve relationships between cyclists, drivers and other road users, ultimately leading to more responsible attitudes and behaviour from drivers.