Bike mechanic Richard Jackson, 36, fixes bikes for free every Friday

A self-funded bike repair service is helping people on low incomes to access the city on two wheels.

Nottingham Bikeworks, a community organisation based in Carlton Road, Sneinton, has been running the Free Fixing Fridays service since the pandemic. 

The project helps residents who are on benefits, are jobseekers, refugees, or struggling financially by restoring bikes at its Sneinton and West Bridgford branches every Friday. 

It aims to create an informal atmosphere where people can come for tea and a chat with a mechanic while their bike is being fixed. 

Ian Keetley, 46, from Beeston, the managing director of Nottingham Bikeworks, said that cycling can be important for access and education because it is a reliable mode of transport. 

He said: “Local people would come in and be restricted by their budget. It was frustrating to give the bike back not at the best it could be.

“So we came up with the free-fix sessions and opened it up to anyone struggling financially.”

The project used to be supported by the Co-op Local Community Fund, however is now completely funded through the till. 

Ian said: “It’s quite freeing to not be tied to the demands of funders.

“The project is really fulfilling. There is pressure to keep the lights on but it has benefited people at the end of the day.

“We have highly skilled mechanics who choose to work here when they could work anywhere.”

The workshop in Carlton Road, Sneinton, are taking bookings for free repairs

Richard Jackson, 36, is a part-time bike mechanic from Sherwood who provides the service every Friday. 

He said: “For some people a bike is their only way to get around so it opens up the city for them. Since the cost of living crisis, public transport has been going up in cost.

“Cycling can also be a cost-effective leisure activity for families. We’ve had a father and son bring in their bikes to be fixed because cycling was how they bonded and connected.”

Hugo McManus, 22, from Thorneywood, used the free service for the first time after his boss told him about it. 

He works in distribution and relies on his bike for his income and chooses to cycle rather than drive due to the cost difference.

He said: “I was surprised when I heard that you can get your bike fixed for free.

“Big savings are crucial right now with petrol prices being so high. 

“The service sounds really intuitive and is important for people who can’t afford to drive or pay bus fares when living in the city.”

More information about booking the fixing sessions can be found on the Nottingham Bikeworks website: https://www.nottinghambikeworks.org.uk/projects/