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What Happens To Your Bike After You Trade In Your Banger?

You might be wondering what happens to your old banger when you trade it in your local Hargroves Cycles store. Well, we’ve teamed up with Recycles, a Salvation Army social enterprise based in Swindon. Located at Booth House, Recycles is a second-hand bike store, that looks like a premium store selling the latest and greatest bikes. We had the pleasure of visiting Recycles and getting to see their operation, how they work, and how they’re helping the homeless.

We loaded up our van of all the bangers we have collected via the Trade in a Banger scheme and set off to Swindon. We’ve had such a fantastic response to Trade in a Banger, we’ve had a variety of bikes back from you (who are hopefully enjoying your new 2019 bikes) which you can read about in our Fresh Goods: Banger Edition. We even had from a customer that urged us they wanted their bike to reach Recycles.

We arrived and met with Simon Styles the Workshop Supervisor and one of the 2 people employed to work at Recycles. The rest of the staff are volunteers from Booth House, people who have experienced homelessness. We also got to meet Emma Hambidge, the Social Enterprise Programme Coordinator,  who explained all about Recycles programme.

“Recycles is a social enterprise which sells refurbished bikes, delivers cycle maintenance courses and offers cycle repair and servicing to local people. Recycles offers training, skills and work experience to service users of Booth House, who have experienced homelessness, to become involved in all aspects of running a business. Here we see people who are committed to turning their lives around. Through involvement in this partnership with Hargroves these donated bikes will enable the service users at Booth House to apply their skills of bike maintenance and servicing, learning and developing new skills and equipping them to rebuild their lives.”

The social enterprise at Booth House has helped hundreds of people get back on their feet after becoming homeless. They’ve rebuilt people’s confidence, social skills and given them the ever important work experience. One of the most important aspects of Recycles and Booth House, in general, is to change the perspective of people experiencing homelessness. When you walk into Recycles, you wouldn’t know that the bikes they sell are second-hand, as the store looks impressive, modern and premium. Not only are they changing the perspective of people experiencing homelessness, but they’re changing the perspective of second-hand bike shops.

Recycles, true to its name, recycles essentially everything that gets donated to them. We had the chance to look at their “stockroom” which was a courtyard filled with all sorts of bikes you could think of! So your donated bike will find its way here, waiting for someone to pick it out and rejuvenate it.

From the countless of bikes they have, there is a number of paths your donated bikes can go down. They can be stripped of their components from the bike, washed in the parts cleaner, and then recycled onto other bikes. If the complete bike is salvageable, they will give it the once over, clean it up and make sure everything is working order before reselling. Whatever they cannot salvage, the bike gets sent off to be scrapped, with the money from the scrap going straight back into the social enterprise. Every bit of money that Recycles gets, is turned straight back into the business to keep it running.

If your bike is in good condition, it’ll end up here with one of the mechanics in the workshop (which by the way is one of the tidiest workshops I’ve ever seen).

This is Craig, he has experienced homelessness and ended up at Booth House. Throughout his stay, he started helping out in Recycles and caught the cycling bug. He is now Cy-Tech trained and is looking for employment. Your donated bike will probably end up in his hands and worked upon. One of the shining aspects of the Recycles scheme is that a volunteer can pick out of a bike from the piles of bikes, take their time cleaning it, picking out the right components and then being able to sell their bike to a customer. This creates a sense of pride and confidence in themselves that the result of all their hard work is a sell.

Your bike will end up on the shop floor, given a new lease of life. Have no fear, your beloved bikes will be making their way into the homes of people who will enjoy them as much as you did. If you want to find out more about the Recycles social enterprise and Booth House click here.


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