Imagine you are leaving Brighton. Imagine you have a bike – not a great one, not much resale value but is has served you well. Your bike cannot come with you. What shall you do with it?
You could get it along to the council recycling centre (Tip) where they will do with it what they do with it. All good but you need to take it there, which can be a barrier for some. Also, its your bike. Many people like their bikes as have served them well, and feel a bit sad having to dump them, and you are that sort of person. You need another option.
Perhaps Freegle. You can give it away to someone else. We wholeheartedly recommend Freegle as one of the best places for stuff you don’t want, but your imaginary self needs your bike right up to the minute you notionally go, and you don’t have time or place to organise it.
Maybe you just leave it. Maybe you just attach it to a nearby lampost or bike stand, lock it and go. “Its OK” you say “I’m not *actually* dumping it. This isn’t *really* flytipping. I’m just leaving it here till I get time to sort it out…..” and even as you walk away, the voice in your imaginary head tells you this is not true – that you will never return to the bike and that it will rust away until the council come to collect it….
This is what a lot of people do – and this was the challenge we took to Brighton CityCamp last weekend. How to make it easier for people to donate their unwanted bikes to us when they are still working, rather than leaving them to rust on the railings in the Brighton brine until the only cycling they will see is the (re)cycling of component parts.
Brighton CityCamp – billed as a ‘social innovation hack weekend’ – is a get together of positive thinkers with ideas on how to Make Brighton Better. It has an Unconference format, with no ‘top table’ dominating and the agenda and actions set by participants, who pitch their idea and try to enthuse others to join in and help turn it into an actionable project. Money and resources are made available to help the best proposals teeter to reality.
On the day, a host of CityCampers came forward to help us with our challenge – how to reduce bike abandonment and increase supply of useful bikes – and we not only got tips on how to adjust our online presence, but also came up with our project proposal – BikeBank.
Briefly, its about setting up physical spaces in the city where bikes can be easily and securely left – like book banks, toy banks or shoe banks – and collected by us for refurbishment and re-use. We have some work to do and people to see in properly developing it, but the good news is that the CityCamp judges saw something in it and declared us joint winners of the cash prize to get it going!
Watch this space for more.