A key underlying principle to my photo-story relates to the donation of bicycles to countries in Africa. It is defined in the title of my project ‘Ingonyama’, relating to the Lion King’s iconic soundtrack the ‘Circle of life’.
An old bike lies abandoned in a communal garage.
The initial charity I wanted to explore, Killie Can Cycle, donate bikes to Moldova and Africa where they are used as methods of transport to collect water and doing school runs. The Bike Station in Edinburgh also donate bikes do a varsity of countries in Africa which end up being used extensively in a variety of useful ways. The bicycles improve all aspects of life including health, education, economy and communities and generally enhance the lifestyle of any owner.
Wheel rims hang from a strip on the ceiling waiting to be paired with a repaired bike.
‘The Bike Station’ is the longest running and most successful bike recycling charities in all of Scotland. The charity operates under three main principles:
“To encourage and promote good mental and physical health through encouraging people to cycle”
‘To help people learn to ride their bicycles safely and to be able to repair them themselves”
“To help the environment by recycling and by promoting cycling as a means of transport”
A mass of donated bikes are crammed into a temporary workspace after a fire tore through the main workshop.
There are three different stations located around Scotland, in Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow. Each of the 3 branches main service is to refurbish and restore donated bicycles to then be sold at an affordable price, a three month warranty included in each sale. As well as up-cycled bikes, both new and second hand parts and accessories are also sold.
Volunteers help load bikes into the van for a shift in location.
‘The bike station’ franchise also provide various other services, such as ‘fix your own bike’ workshops. Through this service, people can hire a workspace and tools for the reasonable hourly rate of £4.00. Experienced mechanics are available to offer the service users advice and alternatively to do the repair for people for a fee. This service also expands to the mobile mechanic “Dr Bike” service which can be hired for corporate or community events. Although repairing and selling bikes may seem like the main theme of the charity, the group take great principle in emphasising cycling proficiency and safety and are keen to help individuals cycle safely and implement this through their services.
Bikes are loaded into the back of the van to be shifted to another warehouse in Perth to create more room in the temporary workshop.
The Bike Station based recently experienced a devastating fire at their premises in Newington. In early September 2016, the fire damaged the shop, workshops and office space. The structural damage caused unveiled asbestos, creating complications for assessing damage and beginning the refurbishment process and insurance claims.
Scotch pies stay warm by the gas fire, the cost of running the heater all day puts strain on the Station’s fragile budget.
Admirably, the staff and volunteers who have invested such considerable time (15 years) and energy into establishing and maintaining the business have temporarily relocated to another warehouse space, so that they continue to supply the city with affordable refurbished bikes. They acknowledge that the event has had adverse impact of various aspects of their beloved business, and are currently in the process of determining a more permanent location. All services have continued without interruption with the exception of the Fix your own bike service, due to the dramatic loss of space.
Two volunteers discuss the rearrangements of bikes between warehouses.