Action 21’s bike volunteers have been hard at work getting a huge number of bikes ready for spring. A whole floor of Action 21’s Warehouse is dedicated to fixing bikes. It’s staffed by volunteers who make a regular commitment to getting their hands dirty, for no pay.
Graham Oliver, Action 21’s Volunteer Bike Co-ordinator (John’s volunteer boss) had a high flying career in the beer brewing industry before taking early retirement. He then ran a steam railway business, with 850 volunteers. Unable to give up working he responded to an advert for a Bike Co-ordinator and got the job. When Action 21 had to scale down its employees, due to the loss of revenue from the Recycle Warehouse, Graham stepped up and offered to work two days a week for no pay!
So are these guys total martyrs, or do they get something out of it?
“When you retire you miss the work environment; your colleagues, the banter, the cups of tea and biscuits. Working is also the perfect excuse to avoid the hoover and the to do list, that awaits you at home!” John McArthur. Volunteer Bike mechanic.
There is always a good atmosphere on the bike floor and you get the impression that these guys look out for one another. Graham admits he also likes coming to work, to avoid daily household chores, and spend time with people:
“When you look at John you see a professional craftsman at work, who takes great satisfaction in the finished product. A bike arrives in a sad and neglected state, we refurbish them and they go out for sale, fit for purpose, to someone who needs a bike.”
Graham is also a cycling enthusiast who believes in the project because:
“Cycling is a healthy and sustainable mode of transport. The only fuel it needs is the food you eat, and that is produced in this country. By selling the bikes we are also raising money for other local sustainable projects .”
If you would like to volunteer as a bike mechanic you will be given full training and regular cups of tea and biscuits. For more information call into Action 21's Re-Useful Centre: 5 Ramsey Road, Sydenham, CV31 1PL. Opening times Tuesday to Sunday 10 – 4pm. Or telephone Action 21 on 01926 886438