What is Bike Aid?

Suffolk Bike Aid has a simple ambition: for cycle repair kits to become as ubiquitous as medical first aid kits kept in public places by growing a self-sustainable network of kits hosted at shops, cafes and pubs and so on that will offer at least a pump, patches and basic tools to make running repairs. The universal Bike Aid logo will signify that the host welcomes cyclists and will try to offer assistance. The kits can also contain information on any bike shops or ‘cycle angels’ nearby.

When a person uses a kit, they just repay the host for this kindness with whatever their conscience thinks is just.

Suffolk Bike Aid is an idea. It is not a scheme that you need to join. We have no revenue, practically nil expenses and we don't plan on any further fundraising. All that we offer is advice on some simple actions that anyone can take locally to improve the experience and practicality of cycling globally.

Suffolk Bike Aid began in 2010 when the Halesworth Town Plan Cycling Group devised the ‘Halesworth Wheel’, a 20 km cycle route around the town suitable for every kind of cyclist.

To support the Wheel, Nat Bocking devised 'Bike Aid' to provide tools, patches and tyre pumps hosted in public places as a courtesy whenever a cyclist needs to make emergency repairs.

This is because he knew that cyclists don’t always carry tools with them and found that the inconvenience of punctures or mechanical breakdowns are reasons for not cycling to work or for recreation.

It has taken considerable amounts of legislation to ensure that work places and public transport vehicles in the United Kingdom are equipped with first aid kits and this is often seen as a burden by the providers.

Suffolk Bike Aid considers that hospitality is a better motivator and will achieve the same result at lower cost (legislation is enormously expensive to produce and enforce). In Suffolk alone there are probably hundreds of tons of under utilised tools lying around that can be recycled to make kits. Hospitality is a tenet of every kind of religion and found in all ancient and modern societies. Hospitality builds social capital, it reduces hostility, it encourages further generosity. Everyone who provides a kit is likely to need to use one themselves somewhere else and they too would depend on someone else's hospitality.

All you have to do to 'join' Bike Aid is to provide a kit somewhere that people can easily access. If you wish to, you can send Suffolk Bike Aid the details of the location and the hosts and we will endeavour to publicise them on this blog and add them to our Google map and we will send you a digital file of the Bike Aid logo to use in your local signposting and advertising. The Suffolk Bike Aid map is available on Google maps and can be downloaded as a GPX file for Sat Nav devices.

People setting up their own Bike Aid schemes elsewhere is encouraged. If you know of somewhere that can host a kit, you could stock it yourself with some tools in a suitable container (we have suggestions of things to recycle for this) and then register the location with Suffolk Bike Aid.

If you are a club or group, you could organise a public collection of spare tools and then put together kits and give them to hosts.

The scheme works on the basis that common sense, courtesy and integrity are the only controls needed. Suffolk Bike Aid's sponsors are not naïve but they are not cynical. The scheme has been operating informally in Suffolk for several years. Putting trust in people to do the right thing encourages others to behave the same way. If you doubt that altruism can provide something useful, have a look at the Little Free Library movement.

To enquire about any aspect of Bike Aid please contact

nat [@] pixlink.co.uk

++44 (0) 1986 872670