Come and be nosy – that’s the word from Reading Bicycle Kitchen.
The DIY bike repair shop opened its doors on Saturday, June 12 and it’s keen for Reading cyclists to get their bikes out of storage and back on to the roads and cycle paths of the town.
Jess Sage, from Reading Bicycle Kitchen, said: “Come and be nosy – come and have a nose even if you want to see what’s in Jackson’s. you’ll be very welcome. We’ll always have tea!”
The Bicycle Kitchen is a community space and it aims to encourage people to learn new skills so that bikes can be maintained, looked after and used. It’s aimed at everyone, regardless of whether they’ve taken part in a Tour de France or have only watched it on TV.
Bike stands can be hired by the hour and visitors can borrow tools and draw on the advice from local experts.
Jess explained: “It could be anything from a puncture to a complete rebuild. We can help [people] if they’re not quite sure what’s wrong with [their bike]. If there’s a bit of a niggle with the gears or something like that, we can help them diagnose the problem.
“Or maybe they just actually want to rebuild their bikes from scratch, we’ve got some amazing bike enthusiasts in Reading.”
Tapping into the resource is easy, as Jess said: “To hire a bike stand in our workshop for one hour is £4, four hours is £10. You’ll have all the work tools that they’ll need to and we’ve got volunteer mechanics who will help you and who’ll teach you how to do it and check it over, make sure that the bike is safe to go on the road again.”
There has been a buzz about the Reading Bicycle Kitchen ever since it was announced and it seems like a novel idea – but the Royal County isn’t the first place to get into gear with a Bicycle Kitchen.
Jess said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the support from local people saying, ‘Oh what a great idea’ but we can’t take credit for it. There’s Bicycle Kitchens all over the world, they started in San Francisco and the nearest one is in Oxford and they’ve been a huge help for us, that’s called Bespoke and we’ve got a London Bicycle Kitchen.”
And Jess added, the team have been bowled over with the support that they’ve received. Lots of people have volunteered to help, sharing their skills and knowledge, while the response seems to have been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s one of those ideas that people might not have heard about it before,” Jess said. “But when they do hear it they go, ‘Ah, yes! even if I can’t use it, I know someone who will’.”
Now that the Kitchen is open, Jess is hoping that people will come and visit.
“We’re happy for you to come in even if you don’t own a bike – we’ve already had two people in today [the opening day] who don’t own a bike but just wanted to know what’s going on.
“So if anyone is at all interested in what’s going on come down on Thursdays from 6pm to 9pm or on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.”
The Reading Bicycle Kitchen also welcomes donations of bikes which can be fixed up or reused for parts.
It opens from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays and from 6pm to 9pm on Thursdays.