The bikespace blog is back!

Hi everyone,

After many years of neglecting this blog, we’ve now updated the contact email (see below) and opening times (Fridays 3 to 7).

Apologies for all of the unread comments and emails, we should now be in better communication. We also hope to (in)frequently update the blog now and then with what’s going on in the 56abikespace universe. If you’re interested in volunteering, or have any questions you can reach us at 56abikespace(at)gmail(dot)com.

Ride everywhere, fix everything! See you at 56a!

credit: bikepolove instagram

Ovarian Psychos! 56a film screening

We’ll be running a film screening of Ovarian Psychos!, a documentary about a women’s bike gang in Los Angeles. We’ll be showing it at the great DIY Space for London off the Old Kent Road on the 10th September at 5pm. We’ll be running bike skillshares for an hour and the film will start at 6pm.

OP screening


Facebook event is here

You can get tickets (£5) here

And a bit more about the film here:

Ovarian Psycos! are an unapologetic bicycle crew of young Latinas from Eastside Los Angeles. This documentary follows members of the gang as they head out on their monthly ride reclaiming their neighbourhood and creating safer streets for women. At first only attracting a few local women, the Ovarian Psycos have since inspired a crowd of locals to challenge the stereotypical expectations of femininity and be a visible force along the barrios and boulevards of Los Angeles. The film intimately explores the impact of the group’s brand of feminism on neighborhood women and communities as they confront the injustice, racism, and violence in their lives.

See a trailer for the film here:

56a needs new volunteers!

recruitment flyer

56a bikespace desperately needs new volunteers to stay open! So we’ll be having a meeting at 6pm on the 9th January for people who want to get more involved. It will be at 56a Crampton Street, Elephant and Castle SE17 3AE. Come meet the other volunteers, find out more about the shifts and how we work, plan for the new year and eat tasty cake!

Also please share this event with anyone you know may be interested – here is the facebook event to share!

Can’t make it but want to get involved? Contact us: twitter @56abikespace, Facebook ‘56a Bike Space’, email, or pop down. Also let us know what days of the week you are available to volunteer when you message us.

What is 56a bikespace?
56a bikespace is a community Do-It-Together bike project based at 56a social centre in Elephant and Castle. We provide tools and advice to help people get their bikes working. We do this because the collective believes in the empowerment of learning to fix your own bike and the environmental sustainability of cycling.

When do we need volunteers?
We used to open Wednesday-Saturday afternoons (3-7pm), but can only currently open 2 days a week because we have too few volunteers. It is useful if volunteers can commit to a particular afternoon every week, but if you can only do 2 shifts a month that would still really help! We also need help one Sunday a month to clean the space out and sort out donations.

What bike stuff do I need to know?
Because 56a is a Do-IT-Together space you learn loads of bike skillz as a volunteer. It is good starting point if you already know how to tune gears and brakes, but if you cannot do this but are keen to learn, then come get involved and you can learn off the other volunteers.

Can we challenge the macho bike culture? 
Yes! Bike mechanics is a ridiculously macho environment and at 56a we have the space to challenge this. There have been discussions of setting up a women and gender variant session, but we haven’t had enough volunteers. If you think it sounds good, come along and help make this happen!

It’s December – Time to Ride to Paris for the COP21 !!

Why not?

We’re into bike riding, and protesting on and off our bikes to save the environment. Aren’t you? Plus, Paris is a mere 289 miles from London (465 km). London to Brighton is 60 miles/96 km, so if you do the maths then this

=adbustersresistance Adventure!!

So, there’s still time to ride to the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris! Sadly, we ourselves are not organising a ride there, though many of us have ridden there on our own, and that can surely be done ( see our page on BIKE TOURING) – you can do it – pack your waterproofs and banderolls, wear them baselayers, and bring yer mates! It’s time for some climate justice.

However, there are some pre-organised rides going to Paris, on the 6th and the 9th. OMG SUCH RIDE. All rides have some sort of fee (for stuff such as the ferry, accomodation, insurance), but you can probably rationalise that such cost goes a long way for the environment, as well as the camradarie and group bonding necessary for voicing one’s collective opinion at world leaders, climate officials, and the like.

Ride links:

6th Dec
Time to Cycle (5 days)

9th Dec
Climate Kilometre (3 days)

Out and Loud: Bicycle Soundsystems – Ode to Pedals

Pedals the sound system…perhaps you’ve seen it at Critical Mass or at a protest. It was built originally for the 2005 G8 protest ride from London to Scotland! Since then it has appeared at innumerable protests/bike rides/protest bikerides, most likely in part due to both it’s impressive sound and durability: “Pedals set the standard for mobile sound with its incredible volume, sound quality, and low power consumption thanks to features like a 6th order bandpass bass enclosure, class D amplifiers, and a highly efficient horn speaker and tweeters” (Bicycology).

How to DIY your own?

History of Pedals!

Here are also some photos and links to check out of mighty Pedals through the years!

Pedals and Son of Pedals around 2008. Both made by bicycology.

At the G20 Climate Ride in 2009. Credit: Ian Gregory


From the 100 Days to Palestine Critical Mass in 2011
From the 100 Days to Palestine Critical Mass in 2011 (up to 2010)

In two years alone, Pedals was used in:


Ain’t no border high enough

Critical Mass to Calais : Bikes Beyond Borders!
August 29-31st, 2015

>>Got a bike and want to pass it on? This is an attempt to get bikes and other provisions to refugees in Calais.<<

If you have, or can source a bike to donate, then please, please join us this August bank holiday weekend on our little trip cycling across the channel: Critical Mass to Calais, taking bikes beyond borders!

We will release more details nearer the time, but you can get involved in any way shape or form (there are many, many ways) just scroll down and pick from the options below.


The vast majority of people living in the camps have left their home countries for reasons of war and persecution in search of safety and security. Now, having been forcibly evicted from autonomous camps in Calais to a new ‘designated area’, 7km from the town centre, there are in the region of 2000 people, including women and unaccompanied minors, living in conditions of poor sanitation with minimal access to support and services.

Most cyclists can relate to the sense of freedom, mobility and self sustainability afforded by the bicycle. For people living in the camps, bicycles are an invaluable asset, improving quality of life by increasing access to basic essentials like the local shop and support and advice services, currently over an hour’s walk away. Some organisations have already began taking bikes to the camps, but many more are needed.
Here is how to JOIN IN THE FUN:

1) THE BIG ONE – 2 Day Cycle from London to Calais leaving Saturday 29th August with overnight camp fun to break the journey – Location and route details TBA nearer the time.

2) 1 Day Cycle from London to Calais leaving Sunday 30th August – For the faster riders or those with time constraints.

3) 1 Day Cycle, starting at overnight camp (location TBA) to Calais – For those who want a shorter ride.

4) Just get to Calais! You may want to donate a bike and visit Calais with us, but perhaps don’t fancy the ride or don’t live in London or the UK…so just find the best way to meet – perhaps even starting a critical mass from your own city!

Don’t have a bike you are able to donate?

1) Come along for the ride! Donating is not mandatory at all, the more the merrier, so join in the fun at any of the stages listed above!

2) Talk to your pals! Do you know there are 7 times more unused bikes in garages and gardens in London than out on the roads, so speak to your friends or neighbours to get your hands on one!

3) Get a second hand bike from your local bike shop or one of our recommended providers – details to follow.

Don’t fancy the ride?

1) Get your bike to Calais in any way you can! We know that riding isn’t for everyone, the main objective is to get as many bikes to the camps as possible, so if you have another way of getting yours there, then find us at either Dover or Calais on the Sunday.

2) Join us as a support vehicle! You never know what might happen the road and we would love to be accompanied along the way! There will be mechanics in the group but parts and refreshments will need their own ride.

3) Donate any spare bicycles to the cause! There are many organisations who refurbish unused bicycles and donate them to asylum seekers and refugees, message us and we can connect you!

donations donations!!

It’s been a long time since previous post- clearly been a busy last few months!..

Many people come to us to donate their unwanted bike/s. while we are always open to donations of bikes and/or bike parts, accessories, and especially tools, we cannot always take on complete bikes, and unless they requite little [a day’s] work to “do up”, we recommend they are donated to a nearby project we very much support: the London Welcome Project, based in Stockwell, just behind the tube stop, will gladly take your unwanted bike/s, and they have much more space to store the bikes which need more work.

From their website:

“The London Welcome Project (LWP) is a non-profit, member-driven social centre where asylum seekers and refugees can meet. On Sunday afternoons we offer a warm and welcoming space where our members can socialise, share experiences, learn from one another and engage in activities.

LWP strives to break the isolation that many asylum seekers and refugees experience. The Project aims to challenge the injustice and discrimination experienced by asylum seekers and refugees by providing a place of welcome in London. LWP is based on equal relationships and solidarity with our members.”

For more details:

Phone: 07438506392 (Monday, Friday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm)

Stockwell Centre
1 Studley Road,
London, SW4 6RA

Nearest bus stops

Stop C 196
Stop M 50, 88, 155, 345
Stop G 155, 345

Nearest tube station
Stockwell Station






Thursday is back on- just about!

After shuffling our current volunteer pool around a bit, it seems that we’ll manage to open on thursdays again from this one, 10th July.

We always need more volunteers as it does get very busy, especially this time of year! The thursday shift is the longest, running from 14:00 til 20:00, so even if you can only offer half a shift’s worth of time, it would definitely be very helpful, regardless of which day, but preferably a slot to which you can commit on a weekly basis, as it makes it a lot easier to organise a rota around. We are a fully volunteer-run collective, and as such, don’t have any volunteer co-ordinator, etc..

opening times:

Wed 15:00 – 19:00

Thu 14:00 – 20:00

Fri 15:00 – 19:00

Sat 14:00 – 18:00