Cardiff Cycle Workshop

Enabling more people to cycle through the provision of training courses, recycled bikes and repairs.

425 t
Est. annual reduction in carbon
emissions (tonnes CO2 eq)

1,500
Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Our story

by Andrew Burns, Operations Manager and Instructor, Cardiff Cycle Workshop

We founded Cardiff Cycle Workshop to promote the benefits of cycling through education and skill-sharing, and now we also have an award-winning workshop offering affordable bikes and repairs to the community.

We are a not-for-profit organisation and pride ourselves in being the source of reliable and honest advice.

Our number one goal is to make cycling accessible to everyone in the community. Whether that person is a student needing cheap transport to and from lectures, or an older person wanting to get active in retirement, we believe that we can help them find what they need.

Our offering comes in the following forms:

A bike recycling scheme - with more bike paths opening across the country, travelling by pedal power is easier than ever and while we want to get as many people on bikes as we can, we are also committed to doing so as sustainably as possible. This is why we created our bike recycling scheme which, over the years, has saved over 425 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere through the production of new bikes. Our bikes also sell for a fraction of the price of a brand-new pair of wheels.

Bike repairs – we offer a full bike repair service and can provide everything from a simple tune-up service to a full strip down and rebuild.

Doctor Bike - this is our on-site service for organisations which involves our technicians giving bikes a health check and carrying out necessary repairs on a client’s premises. Doctor Bike’s on-site visits takes away the inconvenience of staff having to take it to a bike shop which can impact their working hours and free time.

Training courses – we teach people how to learn to look after a bike in a brand new, dedicated training suite. We provide courses for everyone from beginners to future professionals led by a friendly group of instructors who share a mutual love for all things spokes and saddles.

Our advice

Before starting anything, get in touch with those who have done it before. Not necessarily those in the same area as you, as that’s obviously competition, but look further afield for people who know the scene. We had conversations with organisations in London, Bristol and Dundee in the early days. There are also a number of bodies that can help you. We’ve worked with Sport Wales, the Welsh Co-Operative Centre, Welsh Government and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action. Every one of them had something of benefit to bring to our table.

Start small – you don’t have to build Rome in a day. Growing organically has been a bit of a blessing for us. Staying lean by keeping overheads down means that you can sustain business if and when the grants run out. That’s really important for anyone wanting to be in business for the long-term. There’s no point in having a vision that can’t continue once the hand-outs run out. People will talk to you about ‘scaling-up’ but consider it with caution unless you’re absolutely sure that it’s what you want.

Keep an eye on the bottom line and be aware of your margin. The danger with being a social enterprise is that very often people expect your product to be free. Don’t do freebies! You have to determine your own value and put a fair price on the work that you do. Realistically, that’s the only way you’re going to stay in business. Start as you mean to go on in that respect.

Most importantly, enjoy what you do. People in our line of work are never going to be the biggest earners so reward has to come in different ways. You’ve got to make your team feel valued and appreciated. Keeping a smile on everyone’s faces is really important to us. We’re all passionate about bikes and cycling and while that’s a great start, a positive work culture where everyone can continue to do what they enjoy is so important.

Our metrics

We measure by looking at the number of bikes we recycle (average 600 a year), the number of people who attend our training courses (300 to date) and the number of Dr Bike appointments, which is in the region of 2,000.
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The repair bays in action
Workshop volunteers recycling donated bicycles
Rus, Andrew and Jon - three of the workshops founders