Thursday, 13 January 2011

Bike Aid FAQ

Who is behind this scheme?

The concept of Bike Aid was created by Nat Bocking who was inspired by local 'honesty boxes' and 'geocaching' sites.

The scheme is supported locally by Halesworth in Transition, (HinT) a group of citizens in Suffolk who are concerned about life after the oil runs out.

The local county councillor provided £200 (enough for about 20 kits) and Sustrans donated 20 puncture repair kits. Spring Design and Advertising came up with a logo. Local people donated unwanted cycle tools during a collection day.

Who manages the scheme?

Everyone. The scheme is intended to be a simple action anyone can do.  If you can provide some basic tools, a pump and puncture repair kit for the benefit of passing cyclists somewhere; you’re part of the scheme and managing it. 

Participation will always be open and free but if someone else does try and run off with the idea to make money with it, we shall enforce any moral rights and copyrights as creator of the scheme, let alone hunt them down and ensure public shame rains on them forever.

Why do I have to register?

You don’t HAVE to but it would be helpful if you could display the uniform ‘bike aid’ logo and register the location of the kit so we can make it available on the web for the use of publishers of travel information and tourist guides.  If you register the location of a kit, we’ll send you an digital file of the Bike Aid logo to display as well as mention you on this blog.

Can I sell the kits?

There’s nothing stopping you but we hope people would repay you anyway on an ‘honesty box’ basis. If you are a retail establishment, such as a café or village shop, you might want to think about stocking puncture repair kits for sale and providing some spanners and a pump on loan for any passing cyclists.

Sustrans sells puncture repair kits for £2.50 and they would be cheaper to you wholesale.

We are looking for a vendor to produce a Bike Aid kit in a package. Perhaps something with some nice foam cut to fit the tools etc. If someone else sold pre-packaged Bike Aid kits without our knowledge, we’d probably take a view on that but it depends on their use of our trademarks or copyrighted work.

Why do we need these? Don’t cyclists always carry tools?

Many do but according to our surveys over 90% often go out without tools.

The inspiration for this scheme was the number of requests for assistance from cyclists that Nat Bocking had when he worked at one of Suffolk's major tourist destinations. 

Following his hunch there was a need for this scheme, other tourist destinations in Suffolk reported that they also got frequent requests for assistance from cyclists. Nat also carried out research into why employees did not cycle to work for his MA dissertation. The inconvenience of being stranded by a breakdown or puncture was a significant reason that discouraged people.

Visitors to Suffolk often hire bikes or bring bikes they haven't ridden for some time. They set off unprepared for every eventuality.  Apart from punctures, brake cables can snap, gears can go awry. This can spoil their enjoyment of cycling. Premises that offered assistance to cyclists reported that people were always grateful for any help given and it was often repaid very generously, which compensated  for those who didn't.

This can only work if there are kits everywhere, how will you get to critical mass?


It would be nice if nobody was more than a mile from a kit one day. Until then, we will focus our efforts on providing kits in and around Halesworth, then Waveney and Suffolk Coastal districts, then the rest of Suffolk and so on. When people in other areas join in, we will encourage them to become a nucleus for local growth.

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