Bristol, United Kingdom

The Bristol Bike Project

Bristol Bike Project

May 25, 2010

A bike repair project provides work, skill-building and wheels to some of the city's newest arrivals

Bristol Bike Project

Bristol Bike Project

The Bristol Bike Project is built on a simple and powerful idea: collect unwanted bikes, work with refugees and asylum seekers to repair them and then give the bikes to them to allow them to get around the city.

“Refugees who have been given leave to remain are given a room to sleep in and vouchers for food, but they can’t use them for travel.  We have given bikes to people who were having to walk for over an hour to get to appointments,” says James Lucas, one of the project’s co-founders.

The Bristol Bike Project began in December 2008 as a backyard initiative.  The project has since expanded into a workshop space with six regular volunteers and is open four days a week (the entire project is run as a volunteer operation).

To date, over 150 asylum seekers living in the City of Bristol are riding bikes they repaired themselves.  In addition to working with refugees and asylum seekers, the Bristol Bike Project has also expanded their reach to include an ever growing cross section of underprivileged and marginalized groups such as the homeless, the mental health sector, recovering substance abusers and detached youth groups. They also offer a women’s bicycle maintenance group.

The Bristol Bike Project was recently profiled in the The Guardian as well as in a short documentary film, that was subsequently selected to be screened at the OneWorld documentary film festival in Prague (will be screened to over 50,000 school children), the Unchosen festival in Bristol, the International Bike Video Festival in Bochum in Germany, and the Videotheque of the Sheffield international documentary festival, as well as being screened at numerous local venues.

For more stories on the inclusive nature of sports, please see: