Bristol Bike Gathering!

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Last week the Bike Room took a little field trip down to Bristol for the second nation-wide bicycle gathering (first one was in Manchester) . Following up on the first gathering last March, this was a meeting for organizers of bicycle-based projects across the UK. London was well represented, with four of us in attendance from the Bike Room and one person from Cycle Training UK; other organizations included Cranks in Brighton, Pedaller’s Arms in Leeds, and the multi-cited Bicycology and Spokeswomen. The Kebele social center and Bristol Bike Project hosted the event, setting the bar high for future gatherings with amazing food and accommodation. They have our great thanks.

As a mechanic at the Bike Room, I was thrilled to see so many people excited about social projects involving bicycles. There are inevitably moments in organizing such a project when a person loses steam, dealing with inconsiderate patrons or failing to see any sort of large-scale system change. This bicycle gathering was a chance for me to be reinvigorated, partly for sharing and discovering practical strategies, but more so for being surrounded by so many inspired and inspiring people.

Workshops covered all manner of bicycle-related subjects, as organizers came from projects with widely varying missions. Several projects were based around helping people fix their own bikes, like the Bike Room, but others included cycle training, bicycle politics, a women’s bicycle mechanic network and youth mechanicship. Perhaps the most unique project to present a workshop was one that dealt exclusively with adaptive cycles for the disabled, a community that is often neglected among cyclists.

The next gathering will be held in Leeds in the spring, and the Bike Room will of course be in attendance. Again, our heartfelt thanks go out to the organizers of the gathering in Bristol and all of the participants. It’s not often a chance comes along to be so reflective which engaging with so many interesting people.

Tom Martin
Bikeroom volunteer


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