Jim Everett, CEO of bike2life considered being asked to be Shop for Change’s ‘Organisation of the Month’ as the “next step in the journey for bike2life”. Speaking of the start-up and development of bike2life, Jim commented:
“We started off as a project running alongside the youthwork at Four Oaks Baptist Church in 2005, having realised that there was a lot of interest in cycling and more importantly learning the skills necessary to maintain you own bike.
“Matthew Clarke (Maff) and myself, were both keen cyclists, volunteer youth workers and had done some trail leader training to be able to take out groups and so decided to start to develop a project around cycling, initially to get together some bikes for the young people to use on rides. We were enthused by a renovation project running in Yardley and set about building up some tools and spares. Go forward a few years and we have managed to get some space in a disused chapel in Mere Green, we run a monthly maintenance session on the first Saturday of every month, we have launched a Community Interest Company to manage the bike project and we are looking at several other ways in which we can run bike related community projects. We’ve been involved in organising Bike Week “Dr Bike” maintenance sessions, the promotion of the Connect2 cycle route in North Birmingham and organising fun challenges at community events. We’re also supported by both local Baptist churches and some of the other local community groups are also getting involved.
“Realising that we needed to create a new legal entity to manage the bike project – bike2life as it had become – we sought guidance on what legal structure we should adopt. Actually getting to the point of signing the final documents turned into a long and torturous journey; with all of us learning en route about company/charity law and the different options out there. We started to talk to iSE who gave us lots and lots of helpful and invaluable advice. We took advantage of training courses and advice sessions and eventually, in November 2011, we signed the CIC documents.
“We are still working as a voluntary based organisation. We have the programme set for 2012 and we’ll see what opportunities are presented. Our aims are around getting people to cycle more, recycle bikes more and challenge their thinking on their spirituality using cycling as a way of taking pilgrimages. Journeys can be very spiritual experiences, walking isn’t the only option – in fact cycling opens up many of the ancient pilgrim routes to a lot more people who can’t spend months travelling.
“If you’re interested in getting involved, want to join us on a bike ride or want to see your old bike put to good use check out the website and contact us. There’s usually a cup of tea available on the Saturday Shed mornings on the first Saturday of the month.”