On Your Bike was established in June 2010 by Ben Fox, with a mission to stop the waste of thousands of bikes that get scrapped every year, while providing work and training to people who were finding it difficult to secure such opportunities. While most scrapped bikes do end up being recycled as scrap metal, Ben saw a sustainable enterprise in taking discarded bikes, refurbishing them and offering them for sale. OYB now receives used bikes from a variety of sources, including donations from the public and via a partnership with Taunton-based waste company, Viridor, who donate to OYB bikes deposited at the firm’s Household Waste Recycling Centres in the area. Any bikes that cannot be refurbished and sold are stripped for parts, including tyres and tubes, which are then sold, many via the charity’s recently-established ebay shop – called onyourbikecharity. The charity has also developed a number of manufacturing opportunities in bike racks and stools made from otherwise unusable bike frames. On Your Bike also provides a bike repair service, including mobile workshop, which has operated in villages across the area and at large employers including Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital.
The charity has been operating for 18 months under the Chairmanship of former army officer and health service CEO Mark Gritten, who is moving away from the area. Replacing Mark will be tough but I believe that my extensive experience in local politics, communications and business development coupled with the fact that I have been a Trustee of OYB for 18 months will enable me to help drive the charity forward. The position is also complementary with my Chairmanship of the Committee seeking to provide a safe cycle and walking route between Bishops Lydeard, Cotford St Luke, Norton Fitzwarren and Taunton.
The third of the charity’s fully-trained staff has recently left to put his newly-acquired qualifications and experience to good use at a bicycle shop in Somerset. Such moments are bittersweet for On Your Bike. While we are sad to see our staff go, it does provide affirmation of one of the charity’s key goals in helping people into employment.
Based at Rylands Industrial Estate in Wellington, On Your Bike will shortly be moving to new premises in Taunton and will be announcing a number of new partnerships to widen opportunities for people to access the charity’s bike repair services and bike sales.