Leeds Bike Mill is a community bike recycling and training co-op, established in early 2014.

We are not-for-profit and provide affordable second hand bicycles and deliver a range of training courses in bike maintenance. We believe cycling and the ability to fix bikes are really empowering, so when possible we run projects providing free or subsidised bikes and training to people who would otherwise be unable to access them.

We are always grateful to receive donations. If you have a bicycle that is no longer used or wanted, please get in touch!

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Cycle Training for Drivers

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.

The Restorative Roads project was made possible thanks to funding received from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner of West Yorkshire through the Safer Communities Fund.

Win essential bike maintenance kit!

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!

Chain Wear Tool
Find out why a chain wear tool could save you lots of money on one of our courses…

 

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.

Win prizes this Ride to Work Week! 12-18 March

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).

Check out Love to Ride’s West Yorkshire home to find out more and sign up!

Love to Ride logos

January 2018: Closed for refurb!

Photo of 37 Mabgate GreenAs 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
Image of toolboard
gotta get those tools in order…

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!

Courses

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!

Gift ideas (and a big thank you)

A very different stocking filler
Voucher preview image
Preview of the Bike Mill voucher

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!

 

Sad news

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 mill owl with tearBike 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.

 

Upcoming sales, events, courses & volunteers days!

Regular Bike Sales

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…

Get RidingCentury ride

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
Bike parts diagram
Find out what all the bits of your bike are really called!

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!!!!!!

 

Restorative Roads

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.

Photo of cycling in Leeds
Cyclists, drivers & pedestrians sharing the space in Leeds city centre

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.Image of cycling infrastructure

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.

Friendly 100 mile ride coming up!

The awesome Adventure Syndicate are hosting a 100 mile ride in Yorkshire next Saturday…

This will be a fun, friendly ride, open to all, and especially welcome to anyone who hasn’t yet reached the 100 mile milestone!

Bike Mill will be there with bells on – would be awesome if you could join us! Meeting at Leeds Town Hall at 8am on Saturday 15 July. Heading east so it should be relatively flat, cycling speed will be steady, but not fast (aiming for 12-14mph). Keep an eye on for the route on the  facebook event.

Leeds Bike Mill on the road…

Last week the Bike Mill Owl spread its wings and flew* over to Bradford for the Women & Cycling conference. On arrival we found ourselves in a brilliantly packed room full of people, stalls, info stands & participatory activities.

Women & Cycling conferenceThe morning talks heard stories from ladies from all cycles of life. It was really moving to hear how cycling had positively impacted so many women… and we were inspired to hear tales of gaining confidence & independence, improving mental health & managing depression, feeling fitter & happier, exploring new places, challenging perceptions, making friends & strengthening communities.

However it was also saddening to hear how many barriers women and girls still face to getting on a bike. Velo City Girl‘s experience in a bike shop (when buying her first bike after a 10-year break) was one such example. Expecting all beginner riders to know exactly what bike they want, how to fit it themselves & even know how to adjust a bike is a bizarre assumption, at best. Luckily, it didn’t put her off – but it might do some people – and this highlights the responsibility the cycle industry has to ensure it is open to everyone. (We hope everyone always feels they can ask questions when buying a bike with us!)

Women & Cycle conferenceRepresentation of diverse women in cycling was a strong theme throughout the day. In particular the need to challenge the notion that to be a “proper cyclist” you have to be this, have that, or know everything about bikes already. If you’re sitting on a bike, you are a cyclist. Inspiring young women, especially black & minority ethnic women, to see cycling as a safe / fun / viable option was advocated by all, and was being awesomely demonstrated by so many groups in the room, including Girls Gotta Ride Cycling Club & Onna Bike Community Club.

We were flattered to be invited to hold a discussion on engaging women from asylum seeker & refugee communities in cycling. This was based on the work we’ve been doing in our pilot project funded by Leeds Community Foundation. We were grateful to all the ideas that were shared around the table and excited to hear that similar projects may be starting up elsewhere. Owl & doughnutsImportantly though, the people who should shape such projects are the women themselves. We are committed to widening participation, and encouraging more (and different) people to our workshop – but we don’t have all the answers for how to do that and don’t want to assume we know best. So if you want to get more involved, or have an idea of something that would really help you cycle more, please let us know.

*Actually, it was very lazy & got a lift from the peloton of ladies who cycled with us from Leeds to Bradford along the cycle superhighway. And it ate most of the doughnuts.