Oxford Cycle Workshop bike co-op aims to carry on good work

thisisoxfordshire: Cassiope Sydoriak and Elle Smith Buy this photo » Cassiope Sydoriak and Elle Smith

A NEW organisation has risen from the ashes of the former Oxford Cycle Workshop, which ceased operating in February.

Oxford Cycle Workshop was a driving force for cycling in the city, running events, operating a bicycle repair shop and working with the community to promote cycling.

Cassiope Sydoriak and Elle Smith had been running a fortnightly women’s only bicycle mechanics evening at the former East Oxford based organisation when it folded.

They kept the workshop, Beryl’s Night, going then decided it was time to launch a new organisation so formed The Broken Spoke.

Ms Sydoriak, 24, said: “We felt we couldn’t operate just every fortnight because everyone we knew wanted to use the facilities so we thought it needed to be a little bit bigger.

“We banded together and decided to go full-fledged and get something that’s open to everybody.”

While the new organisation, which is currently a limited company but is planning to become a co-operative, does not yet have a permanent home, from next weekend it will be operating weekly open access workshops in different locations and bicycle mechanics courses while continuing with Beryl’s Night.

They clubbed together to buy many of the assets, including tools, from the former Oxford Cycle Workshop.

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Ms Sydoriak said: “I think having something like this in Oxford is very important in ways that aren’t yet realised.

“It’s about people being able to maintain their own bikes, getting people to cycle more which is good for the environment.

“Oxford is a big cycling city but a lot of people just use bikes to get from A to B, we want there to be somewhere for cyclists to go where they feel like part of a community.

“If you get people to feel they are part of a friendly, comfortable community of cyclists, it will encourage them to cycle more – and in turn use the workshop more.”

To launch The Broken Spoke, there will be a bicycle scavenger hunt – known as an alleycat and with a back to school fancy dress theme – which will offer a tour on two wheels of some quirky sites of the city.

It takes place on Friday, leaving from Broad Street at 6.30pm.

The first open access workshop is at South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street, on Saturday.

For an admission fee of £7, people will be able to benefit from workshop space, tools, and guidance from experienced mechanics.

The first bicycle mechanics course, which starts on Sunday, is already fully booked.

  • For more information about the organisation, visit bsbcoop.org

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