Free-to-use prison-refurbished bikes for Derby workers

Social mobility scheme Bike Back Derby are providing refreshed bikes for local employers in a UK first

by Elliot Johnston   August 20, 2014  

Commuter cyclist

Access to a fleet of free-to-use refurbished bikes is being offered to workers of a logistics firm in Derby, in what is thought to be a UK-first, thanks to social mobility scheme Bike Back Derby.

The bikes, which have been refurbished to a “better than new” standard by inmates at a category C prison near Nottingham, are available to employees of Kuehne + Nagel Drinksflow Logistics to ride around the large Goodman-ownd Derby Commercial Park as to-and-from work.

Bike Back Derby, the initiative run by Bristol-based cycling charity Life Cycle UK, sold part of their fleet of refurbished bikes to industrial property developers Goodman Group to be used by employees on the site.

This is the first instance that the Bike Back Derby scheme have worked alongside a local employer to provied free cycling access, and as far as the project co-ordinator John Hughes is aware, it is the first example of such an arrangement in the country.

“I don’t know of any other charities in the country doing the same thing,” Mr Hughes said. “But we’re hoping to continue to provide cheap opportunities for local employers in Derby to give free access to bikes to their employees.”

The project with Kuehne + Nagel Drinksflow Logistics began when site owners Goodman Group approached the Derby-based scheme looking for an initiative that could enhance the health of employees working on their site.

Mr Hughes said: “We were approached by Goodman, who wanted to buy a range of bikes including men’s, women’s and hybrid bikes, so that employees could try cycling on-site and to and from work for free.

“All of the bikes we sold them were recycled frames, but with new shifters and drivetrains installed.”

The Bike Back Derby scheme was given the go-ahead at the end of 2012 after Derby City Council won a bid for £5 million worth of sustainable transport funding for the city, of which one of the strands was bike recycling.

The Derbyshire based project won a portion of that funding and began working in tandem with HMP Stocken to produce 300 refurbished bicycles for the community in their first year.

The scheme has since seen success around the area working with the Royal Derby Hospital and local schools, and is now looking to work with more local businesses, including one of the biggest employers in the city.

Mr Hughes was keen to highlight the social benefits of the scheme, and not just the improvements to inner-city congestion, but also the positive impact it has had on the lives of the prisoners at HMP Stocken who are working towards achieving their level 2 City and Guilds qualification as cycle mechanics.

“The prisoners really seem to enjoy the scheme, and the bikes come out better than new. I remember one of the inmates telling me that he could really see the point of it, which is rare for menial labour jobs in prisons,” Mr Hughes said.

“We’ve seen inmates come out with real, applicable skills too. One of the recent releases has even been hired as a bicycle mechanic at a national chain of stores.”

Bike Back Derby are always looking for donations of bikes, as well as volunteer help. Either visit the Life Cycle UK website or email derby@lifecycleuk.org.uk to get involved.

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Win win

posted by tonylen [26 posts]
20th August 2014 - 17:09

19 Likes

Up there with Batman stabbing a shark with a light-saber for awesomeness. I like this.

posted by Argos74 [330 posts]
20th August 2014 - 18:10

34 Likes

Great use of resources giving someone a chance and a qualification, promotes cycling,,ease congestion. Clearly a great idea, I assume no politicians were involved as it's too sensible.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [485 posts]
20th August 2014 - 18:21

8 Likes

It might be a bit neater if the bikes could have been supplied by a lease-type agreement, so that if they need maintaining or break-down the user can hand the bike back and get a replacement, rather than just dumping the bike and asking for another.

I feel it might need some token 'ownership' to really keep it going.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [546 posts]
20th August 2014 - 21:07

2 Likes

A V Lowe wrote:
It might be a bit neater if the bikes could have been supplied by a lease-type agreement, so that if they need maintaining or break-down the user can hand the bike back and get a replacement, rather than just dumping the bike and asking for another.

I feel it might need some token 'ownership' to really keep it going.

That moment you realise you missed the point quite profoundly on every level!

posted by drfabulous0 [404 posts]
20th August 2014 - 21:29

33 Likes

They should get some overt 'bandit' or 'reformer' type branding/ marketing on the go here. I believe it would give a USP that would appeal to many.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [840 posts]
20th August 2014 - 21:58

30 Likes

This is tremendous but at the same time quite poor that they are the first/only.

Under the current tax system it is actually beneficial for a company to provide pool bicycles to their employees. They can be bought as a straight expense which can be written down in a single year offset against any profits. At the same time, as this article suggests, they get major kudos for being environmentally conscious.

Anyone who runs their own company should bear this in mind. (only 50% of the bicycles use has to be for company purposes and this doesn't need to be recorded)

posted by pinecooler [11 posts]
20th August 2014 - 22:03

27 Likes

I think that this is "bloody brilliant". A number of mates and I one evening were quaffing many a beer and the one was complaining about the rise of train fares and the whole vast cost associated with public transport.

One then posited that a number of people are better off on benefits than working once you take off the travel costs, so things like this are brilliant, plus as we know, people who excercise are better works.

posted by Wolfshade [131 posts]
21st August 2014 - 11:25

24 Likes

Oooh…………. the irony. It was thieving scum that took your bike in the first place which they are now tasked with repairing in prison ………… Oh right, no bike thief has ever been sent to prison. Sorry.

Even if you have to buy your bike the traditional way i.e. from a shop cycling is still pretty cheap so people in Derby must be pretty skint or tight.

How about some model names?

The Pro-bation?
The Pedalphile?
The Rapier?

How about a Pyscho-Cross bike refurbed by Mr Cyclepath himself?

Airzound

posted by Airzound [801 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 8:32

19 Likes

They also donate to schools as well as to people on low income who are looking for work, and in work.

I can't see what the problem is that some of you chaps have with the scheme. The prisoners might as well do something with there time inside so why not!

The bikes are either really old or BSOs so the people who are on the scheme are not going to out bling any of you carbon heads any time soon.

It's a really old story, I'm surprised this is getting posted now.

You can also buy bikes or donate a bike (i doubt any of you naysayers will be donating to a worthy cause)

posted by Binky [115 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 10:06

24 Likes

Other prisons have run schemes like this from time to time over the years. Stafford prison used to have one but discontinued it due to funding cuts and passed the tools onto a community project. You don't just get BSO's and some of the "old" bikes are very often unused and high quality. I call these "shame bikes". People bought them on a keep fit kick, gave up and then left them in the shed to gather dust.

As for the people of Derby - no they are not "pretty cheap" they are just looking for ways to get to work. While in the long term a bike is quite an affordable way to get to work not many people can afford that initial outlay of what may be several weeks wages for something serviceable that will last. Before someone chips in with "bike to work scheme" not many minimum wage employers take part in this scheme, while it's a good scheme it tends to favour people in well paid lines of work with employers who treat employees more fairly - as in paying a living wage. As with most government schemes it tends to be better educated people with money who get to take advantage of it the most rather than the people who really need it. It's much like trying to get an allotment because you don't have a garden and finding the waiting list is full of people who can afford to buy a house with a garden but think an allotment would be super as organic veg is oh so trendy right now.

If you are going to be snidey and just look at from the middle class daily mail readers point of view then why bother commenting?

posted by MKultra [378 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 10:22

17 Likes

MKultra wrote:
Other prisons have run schemes like this from time to time over the years. Stafford prison used to have one but discontinued it due to funding cuts and passed the tools onto a community project. You don't just get BSO's and some of the "old" bikes are very often unused and high quality. I call these "shame bikes". People bought them on a keep fit kick, gave up and then left them in the shed to gather dust.

As for the people of Derby - no they are not "pretty cheap" they are just looking for ways to get to work. While in the long term a bike is quite an affordable way to get to work not many people can afford that initial outlay of what may be several weeks wages for something serviceable that will last. Before someone chips in with "bike to work scheme" not many minimum wage employers take part in this scheme, while it's a good scheme it tends to favour people in well paid lines of work with employers who treat employees more fairly - as in paying a living wage. As with most government schemes it tends to be better educated people with money who get to take advantage of it the most rather than the people who really need it. It's much like trying to get an allotment because you don't have a garden and finding the waiting list is full of people who can afford to buy a house with a garden but think an allotment would be super as organic veg is oh so trendy right now.

If you are going to be snidey and just look at from the middle class daily mail readers point of view then why bother commenting?

Talking out your back side. So you are saying people who don't earn a lot only have these sorts of schemes to be able to own a bike???? What a load of rubbish. I am sure the people of Derby are no different to most others elsewhere. There are a lot of people on lower incomes including those who may receive tax credits who save up or make sensible financial choices and buy themselves a reasonably nice bike and then ride to and from work. It is a no brainer. Cycling is really not that expensive compared to other means of transport.

The C2W scheme is a tax relief scheme and has nothing to do with whether you have a good education or not. It does unfairly favour higher rate tax payers as you suggest the very people who could afford to buy a bike but don't or are too tight. Also it depends on whether your employer offers the scheme or not. Mine does but limits value of bike or accessories to £500 which was too low for me and doesn't get you anything really good or durable and anyway I bought my bike prior to it commencing. Being on a low income you just make sensible financial choices, cycling being one of them (plus fitness benefits etc), not wasting money by over eating, smoking, boozing or having a huge flat screen tv or the latest most expensive mobile phone.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [801 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 14:24

6 Likes

Airzound wrote:
MKultra wrote:
Other prisons have run schemes like this from time to time over the years. Stafford prison used to have one but discontinued it due to funding cuts and passed the tools onto a community project. You don't just get BSO's and some of the "old" bikes are very often unused and high quality. I call these "shame bikes". People bought them on a keep fit kick, gave up and then left them in the shed to gather dust.

As for the people of Derby - no they are not "pretty cheap" they are just looking for ways to get to work. While in the long term a bike is quite an affordable way to get to work not many people can afford that initial outlay of what may be several weeks wages for something serviceable that will last. Before someone chips in with "bike to work scheme" not many minimum wage employers take part in this scheme, while it's a good scheme it tends to favour people in well paid lines of work with employers who treat employees more fairly - as in paying a living wage. As with most government schemes it tends to be better educated people with money who get to take advantage of it the most rather than the people who really need it. It's much like trying to get an allotment because you don't have a garden and finding the waiting list is full of people who can afford to buy a house with a garden but think an allotment would be super as organic veg is oh so trendy right now.

If you are going to be snidey and just look at from the middle class daily mail readers point of view then why bother commenting?

Talking out your back side. So you are saying people who don't earn a lot only have these sorts of schemes to be able to own a bike???? What a load of rubbish. I am sure the people of Derby are no different to most others elsewhere. There are a lot of people on lower incomes including those who may receive tax credits who save up or make sensible financial choices and buy themselves a reasonably nice bike and then ride to and from work. It is a no brainer. Cycling is really not that expensive compared to other means of transport.

The C2W scheme is a tax relief scheme and has nothing to do with whether you have a good education or not. It does unfairly favour higher rate tax payers as you suggest the very people who could afford to buy a bike but don't or are too tight. Also it depends on whether your employer offers the scheme or not. Mine does but limits value of bike or accessories to £500 which was too low for me and doesn't get you anything really good or durable and anyway I bought my bike prior to it commencing. Being on a low income you just make sensible financial choices, cycling being one of them (plus fitness benefits etc), not wasting money by over eating, smoking, boozing or having a huge flat screen tv or the latest most expensive mobile phone.

Are you sure that letter was not meant for the Daily Mail?

You can't find a durable bike for £500? Just what on earth do you want in a commuting bike? Di2 and full Carbon?

Apparently it's also the fault of people on low incomes people that they can't find the money for an expensive bike as well?

Do be on your way sir, no one wants to read your bigotry.

posted by MKultra [378 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 15:26

14 Likes