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Community-based bicycle recycling scheme makes wheely great sense

January 26th, 2022 11:55 AM

By Brian Moore

Katie Mann and Ruth Bullough at the Cycle Sense Workshop and headquarters in Skibbereen.

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A social enterprise wants us all to reuse, renew and recycle our old bikes and, with the support of Cork County Council, their target is to get over 90 broken cycles back in use this year, reports Brian Moore

RUTH Bullough and Katie Mann of Cycle Sense in Skibbereen have created a not-for-profit service that has seen over 20 old bikes, that were left at the local amenity site, repaired and put back on the road.

‘We repaired 22 bikes and sold all of them almost immediately,’ Ruth told The Southern Star.

‘With the support of Cork County Council our target is to get over 90 bikes recycled and back in use this year.’

Cycle Sense, which is located at the showgrounds in Skibbereen, was founded back in 2007 with the aim of providing cycle training for children in West Cork.

Today, Cycle Sense not only provides cycle training but works with the community to encourage cycling, sustainability and the circular economy.

But where did the idea of recycling old bikes and getting them back on the road come from?

‘We both share a passion not only for bikes, but for the environment, waste reduction and social inclusion,’ Katie said.

‘With this as our starting point we looked at what we could do and now that we have our workshop we have the space to work on and repair bikes from civic amenity sites. ‘These bikes that, have been thrown away, are given a new lease of life through a learning and training programme and then we rebuild them in order to make these inexpensive bikes available in the our community.’

The team at Cycle Sense are planning a more hands on programme when it comes to bike maintenance and cycling confidence in 2022 as Ruth and Katie have discovered that for kids and indeed their parents, not knowing how to look after their bike is a problem.

‘At the workshop we can provide people, adults and children, with the space, the tools and the expertise to not only maintain their bikes but to rebuild and then reuse a bike that was once dumped,’ Ruth said.

‘We see this space as a community bike workshop where you can fix your bike, learn how to be safe on the roads and to become part of the circular economy where reusing and recycling is a core part of the community. That’s what we need to do to ensure a better more sustainable future for everyone living in West Cork,’ Katie said.

Cycle Sense Skibbereen were recently selected for the government’s social enterprises capital funding scheme and working closely with the Skibbereen greenway project they hope to work towards making Skibbereen a cycling and walking friendly town with five greenway routes.

‘We also want to encourage more women and people with disabilities, who are underrepresented, to get involved with cycling,’ Ruth said.

‘We will be setting up more projects for women, as well as a purpose-built track here at the showgrounds, where we can safely build confidence in all the aspects of cycling, from road safety to maintenance, before taking to the roads of West Cork.’

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