Design, coaching and mentoring
In April 2019, our founder was interviewed and asked to co-found another cycling enterprise, initially named ‘Just Bike’, later Handlebars Repairs Limited, an offshoot of the tech company, Just Park, looking to monetise their parking real estate for cycle repairs as private cars shift to autonomous shared electric fleets.
With the workload and demands of running Pro Bike Service CIC, accepting the co-founder role was not viable, but an agreement was reached whereby Pro Bike Service would provide 100-200hrs business consultancy, training and support from inception to launch, in exchange for help to build our open source IT system. From initial design of the standalone popup units (with paid consultancy to consult on fabrication), Pro Bike Service CIC gifted support on site workshop layouts, systems and procedures, popup and service design, HR, general management and coaching over a period of 6 months. Research from our Loughborough University ‘Collaborative Partnerships‘ programme on our open source IT app/cloud and ecosystem design as well as our training and apprenticeship scheme and plans to move into underutilised real estate were also shared, in order to support our open source I.T system build.
It has been interesting to watch Handlebars grow, scale and adopt much of our current and future business model and plans. Whilst not receiving any I.T support led to a number of setbacks, delays and losses within our social enterprise, we are glad that sharing our systems, designs and future plans along with close mentoring behind the scenes has resulted in building more capacity for cyclists, supporting a wider transition to active mobility modes, a core directive of our work.
Pro Bike Service CIC are active on a number of forums and groups, regularly supporting other cycling and wellbeing initiatives both in the UK and abroad. When we have capacity, all resources and systems will be available online for download, within the spirit of gift, on a ‘pay what you can’ basis.
We are seeking support elsewhere now for our cloud and app-based I.T system, but when deployed, realtime data will be available here, quantifying the impact of the work we deliver and our cost of delivery for multiple stakeholders with aligned goals. Because all our work is open source, our multi-stakeholder decentralised cloud & app system will also be available to all, designed primarily to strengthen and support local independent bike shops and cycling social enterprises – the heart of the cycling repair business, who rarely have access to the financial or technical means to compete with large chains. We’re hoping to build a modular system too that other enterprises can adopt, again, to accelerate our transition towards a lean, agile, inclusive and regenerative future. There is overwhelming scientific data suggesting that we have 10-15years max to change course and rebuild our global economy. The days of incrementalism and asymmetric relationships are surely over and we need to take bold action and open our hearts as much as our heads to co-create the future our children’s children deserve.
Broadly, our metrics will show in realtime;
- number of bikes custom built or refurbished and gifted to community members*
- number of bikes serviced (and rating)
- number of participants passing through our ‘Sustainable Cycles’ work-based learning scheme for local PRU’s
- names and links to organisations we’ve supported, along with the impact we’ve made
- value of parts, materials and pro bono services gifted or reclaimed in support of our work
- volunteering hours given and training and accreditation received
- health outcomes for social prescribing interventions
- qty and value of materials upcycled
- kg of materials recycled by type
- other impacts we are making in terms of circular economy, gift economy, social inclusion and community cohesion
Our system will also provide analytics and huge value to multiple community stakeholders – for example, our data and partnerships can support multiple non-clinical interventions in health, reduce cycle crime by targeted interventions at both root and surface, rapidly skill and expand a green economy workforce embedded in systems of ‘conscious capitalism’ and transparently show the savings and costs to society of this at both the discrete and systems level. Of course, we also help people live happier and healthier lives through cycling and the necessary shift from the private motor vehicle, activating and reactivating underutilised first-mile/last-mile real estate in the process, ideally around community hubs providing multiple value propositions.
*since we engaged all four local hospitals in March 2020, built and gifted over £3k gift of bikes to NHS, keyworkers and Health Study participants, we’ve decided to gift all future bikes, with an open offer to ‘pay what you can’ to support our costs. We believe that generosity, trust and the spirit of service are imperative in times of great uncertainty and change and we’re leaning further into, rather than away from, these values