Cycle Re-cycle Club (CRC, but affectionately known as “The Nunnery Bike Workshop”) is a community based group of enthusiastic bike minded people who gratefully receive pre-loved or abandoned bikes, parts and accessories to help make a working bike to go back into the community. At present, we have only limited means to receive bikes outside our operating time, but give us a call and we might be able to help.
Our goals are to:
- Assist disadvantaged people from the local and wider community.
- Maintain and increase the availability of bicycles.
- Provide a social forum for exchange of ideas and experiences to enhance client knowledge.
Our volunteers work alongside people from the local community, sharing their mechanical knowledge and showing them how to use tools to recycle discarded and pre-loved bicycles and to repair and maintain them afterwards. All aimed at increasing the use of bikes in and around Sydney.
We and others like you who attend, will help you to use our tools carefully and safely and to select parts available, to build a bike for yourself or a friend, or repair or maintain your own bike. In return, we ask that you come back to help others, using what you have learned from us.
Access to tools, second hand parts, components and consumables is free and you are encouraged to ensure the club’s future by participating in our activities and returning to share your knowledge with others.
OUR PLACE IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY:
Currently based at 1 Phillip St., Waterloo (cnr Phillip and Cope Sts.), in the grounds of the Housing NSW precinct, we serve a wide range of people from a variety of cultural backgrounds including local indigenous people, the unemployed and nearby residents. We also receive visitors from all over Sydney including students, backpackers and foreign language visitors to Sydney / Australia.
We are located in the garage below the ‘Turanga’ building and have been affiliated with The Factory Community Centre Incorporated since Jan 2009.
WHEN ARE YOU OPEN ?
We open every Monday and Wednesday 5-8pm excluding 25/12 and 01/01 (we’re all volunteers, so sometimes we might be a bit late opening up). We are also closed when it’s raining heavily, during our winter break, and some public holydays (Closing dates are displayed on time in the home page).
DO YOU SELL SECOND HAND BIKES ?
We do ask for a donation for bikes that we put time and effort into fixing. However, you maybe able to grab a free bike if you are willing to fix it by yourself. Our volunteers are more than happy to assist you in this challenge.
HOW CAN I HELP ?
Cycle Re-cycle Club does not charge for most of its services. To remain viable, we rely solely upon donations of bike parts and consumables with volunteers giving freely of their time and bike mechanics’ expertise.
We gratefully receive pre-loved or abandoned bikes, parts and accessories during our operating hours (5-8pm).
Anyone showing up is encouraged to take part in the running of the workshop. This can be by simply donating their time to help others learn how to maintain or repair their bike, help sorting of parts and components or general housekeeping. The idea is that anyone who attends learns by hands on experience how to maintain/repair their bike and be able to share the knowledge gained with others.
If you find our help valuable or just had a good experience at Bike Club and would like to show your appreciation with a donation in kind (Donations), we always need inner tube repair / patch kits, degreaser, tools, oil and grease and, of course, we’d like your company while we fix bikes and help to keep the club going. Most of all, we are always on the lookout for mechanically skilled people to share their talents.
The first time you attend, please ask for a tour of how the place works and where stuff goes. Then, every time you attend to work on your bike, we ask that you spend 20 min to tidy up your work area to keep the workspace you used clean and tidy and help maintain the work space for the comfort and safety of everyone else. This labour share is what keeps the CRC workshop running smoothly and makes it a good experience for others coming after you.
Join in with us and learn all about how bikes work and / or share your knowledge and experiences or just come along and have some social time.
Everyone is welcome !
How did we get to where we are now ?
In 2005, Bri started collecting old bikes and set up tools and spare parts in a shed at the bottom of a backyard at 40 Forbes St. Newtown, affectionately called “The Nunnery”. Bri was building a fleet of low-fi free share bikes to be used at SOS (student of Sustainability) conference 2005. Bri called it “Cycle Recycle Project”.
at the same time, JP had been cannibalising old bikes together for a while at STUCCO Housing Cooperrative on Wilson St. Newtown, just around the corner from Bri. JP decided to create a community bike fixing space so a critical mass of parts and knowledge could come together for everyone’s benefit. He called it “Bike club”, because that’s what it was, and also because the movie Fight Club is kinda cool. “The first rule of Bike Club is talk about Bike Club!”. He recruited a flatmate Philipe and a friend Maurice to help. Maurice had a van and was a real doer, so the old bikes started piling up quick.
One day Maurice found out about Bri. JP went up to help out a little. Soon they decided to join forces and JP and Maurice moved all their stuff up to Bri’s at the Nunnery. It was then opened to the public and run by Bri for the first year, mostly for women and especially the queer community, as The Nunnery was a share house of queer activist women. When Bri went away to WWOOF and ride with PACE, JP took on keeping it open. After a while Maurice got involved again, MASSBUG promoted it, then Cheeky Monkey, followed by GoGet, Moz, Mark, Karen, SBAR, the press, Sydney Uni, the radio and you all told your friends, and hordes of people started coming.
Towards the middle of 2008, we started looking for a new space, something bigger than a backyard, more welcoming and better setup for fixing bikes. Thanks to the efforts of Dylan P., James N. and Michael S. (The Factory Community Centre Incorporated), we secured a new space at 1 Phillip St., Waterloo, owned by Housing NSW (our new landlord). We liked the idea of having undercover work areas, a proper workshop and lockable storage. It also brought us into a neighbourhood and a community that was in need of a bit of revitalizing. So we packed up and moved on down to Waterloo in Jan 2009 and have been growing steadily ever since.
Given that Housing NSW owns the premises we occupy, we are required to be more careful about the safety of volunteers and people who come into the work space and to keep it clean and tidy after use. Housing NSW makes regular visits to inspect the way we use and maintain the space they have made available to us to satisfy themselves that we remain good stewards of the privilege.
Where are we headed ?
Who knows? Things are growing fast. We see more people each week and there are loads more regulars coming along to help out. Opening more nights per week or starting spinoffs in other areas are ideas that excite us.
Since Cycle-ReCycle started, it has spawned other awesome projects. Maurice set up a version of Bike Club at University of NSW (facebook.com/UnswBikeClub) JP and Karen set up a version of bike club with MTC (mtcaustralia.com.au) in Canterbury teaching the long term unemployed to fix up old bikes and give them to people in need. JP also set up a youth work version of Bike Club with the Benevolent Society (benevolent.org.au) in Green Acre, which has a very high rate of youth violent crime. Ollie and others set up The Bicycle Garden (facebook.com/BicycleGarden), a version of Bike Club associated with Marrickville Markets.
MATERIAL RESOURCES & SUSTAINABILITY
Mainly CRC obtains its goods from the waste stream, cost-sharing and community support. For example, all bikes etc. come from donations or from the street, thrown away. No one in particular goes out to collect them off the streets, but the more people who know of us, the more they just stop and salvage them for us, dropping them off or volunteers collect.
Bike shops like Cheeky Monkey, Cranks at Balmain, Woolys Wheels at Paddington, Clarence St. Cyclery and Crumpler give us HEAPS of parts and stuff for free because they’re cool. People bring in WD40, degreaser, oil, grease and other useful stuff from home. If we need something we ask around or put it on our web site. People often pay for stuff out of their own pockets though this is maybe not ideal. If you’d like to give us stuff, but don’t know what, check out the stuff we need page.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES & SUSTAINABILITY
In the past, we didn’t need much money. We did the Newtown DIY Markets, fixing bikes for free and selling some nunnery bikes. This was good because locals got to know about the bike workshop and we used the cash to buy cheap tools. We also got some cash from a Creative Dissent night once. We had a donations jar in the shed that didn’t see much light or money. We raised $400 at Peats Ridge Festival with Rebycycle, hiring out bikes from our fleet to punters. We bought cheap tools and pumps, etc. from time to time, but recently went upmarket with some pro wheel truing stands.
These days, at Waterloo and with our profile heading towards the dizzy heights of Sydney Town Hall’s clock tower, we raise money through the sale of new brake and gear cable (the safer option) and donations at the ‘cellar door’ for really, really nice donated bikes that only need either to be dusted off or minor tweaking.
During 2009, with a moderate grant from City of Sydney, we were able to buy 5 work stands and 2 more pro-wheel truing stands as well as more of the tools that regularly suffer abuse and misuse and those that grow legs.
How do I get involved ?
Most volunteers seem to evolve without realising it from being a client after turning up for a few weeks in a row. If you are happy to commit some of your precious time on a regular basis (during the opening hours) then becoming a volunteer is simple as filling a form. The best is to come along and chat with the current volunteers.
ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR at BIKE CLUB
Are there any rules ?
No (but …), if there were, we would have to have sanctions for breaking them and it wouldn’t help to say “do as you would be done by”, since we all have a different set of values and sense of acceptable behaviours; there are only the following requirements, all of which are just plainly sensible and reasonable:
- be respectful of the workshop and outdoor work space;
- behave in a way that ensures Bike Club can remain in the space provided to us by Housing NSW;
- respect each other and the bikes we own;
- behave in a way so that everyone has a great experience at Bike Club;
- listen to and follow ANY instruction issued by a volunteer for reasons of safe working or tool miss-use tool abuse;
- take care to maintain the safety of you and others nearby in the work space; especially if you swing a hammer !
- keep a safe distance between you and others in the work space; especially if you swing a hammer !
- be respectful of the tools we provide (on loan to you) return them to the workshop or trays;
- DO NOT miss-use or abuse tools
- use tools ONLY for the purpose for which they were intended… a spanner is NOT a hammer !
- put tools back where they belong on the shadow board or in the box, etc. as soon as you have used them;
- if you have never used a certain tool before, ASK before you BREAK it !
- if you break something, own up to it AND replace it;
- if you have never done a particular task before, ASK before you make more work for yourself and volunteers;
- use gravity whenever you can – it makes life easier and you are less likely to injure yourself;
- give back to Bike Club 20 mins of your time when you attend to help keep the place tidy;
- clean up the mess you made before you leave;
- when donations come in, they are checked and put into stock; it is not the signal for a ‘free-for-all’ ‘grab-it-and-run’;
- parts or bikes MUST NOT be taken away from Bike Club;
- anything on or near the workshop bench is off limits – someone is probably working on it or sorting donated parts;
- donation cash goes in the donation box;
- bikes made with Bike Club resources MUST NOT be sold for personal profit; if you see an opportunity for Bike Club to benefit from a sale, discuss it with everyone and donate the money or some other form of offering back to Bike Club.
Is there someone to police this ?
You. Speak up if you think something is happening that shouldn’t. No one should ever have to be your police officer. If you don’t feel like talking to the person involved, talk to a volunteer.
“I can think of stuff that could work better”
“I have a cool idea, whom do I tell about it ?”
We’ll love you long time if you just do it. Bring it, build it, whatever. If you think it’s controversial or need help or advice, ask around. There’s a wealth of knowledge at the Bike Club and chances are we’ve thought about it before and are full of ideas, but just didn’t get off our “Sweet Honey Ice Tea” to do it.