David with his vintage Raleigh in 'cafe racer' style
David with his vintage Raleigh in 'cafe racer' style

Anna tours Bath on vintage bikes and grabs designer cycle bargains!

Jole Rider (pronounced Jolly Rider) is a charity that targets Africa to improve education and wellbeing in young people. This is mainly done by fixing up donated bikes and shipping them to Africa for kids to use for cycling to school. So to find out more, I met their lead mechanic for a bike ride.

The charity receives old bikes from the police and recycling companies, some of which are absolute vintage gems. Thanks to in-house know-it-all mechanic, David McKinven, these are often pulled out for refurbishment and sold to shops and individuals in England.

I had the privilege of borrowing a classic Malborough in 'café racer' style and touring around Bath in Somerset with David to find out more about the charity.

Although the bikes are donated free of charge and Jole Rider have a good volunteer base, costs are incurred through fixing up bikes and shipping them out to Africa (among the usual business costs), so money still needs to be raised. One sources of income is the infamous Bike Jumble, held in Upper Seagry village hall near Chippenham in Wiltshire. As it’s close to where I live, I volunteered my services for the day to help them sell some goods.

My day started at 9am dragging some very stylish classic bikes out onto the car park outside the hall. After falling in love with my 3-speed Marlborough racer during the photo-shoot (pictured), I resisted the temptation to wheel away a black and gold 1980s' Raleigh with leather touring bag ... and started unloading boxes instead.

The hall quickly filled with tyres, bike parts, running trainers and clothing. I had time for a quick rummage before doors opened at 10am and, boy, was I surprised with the quality of stuff available! Before I knew it,  I was clutching two sets of Castelli shorts, some 2XU compression tights and Solomon running trousers. Needless to say, the shorts alone are lavish, but I reminded myself where the money went to and I got them priced up. I winced as David counted it all up and breathed a smiley sigh of relief when he gave me the total.

The rules are that high quality products and brands are 50% of retail. Some less well-known brands are sold on for as little as £15. Gloves were being sold for around £15, running shoes around £20, triathlon suits for £20, and many more items all brand new with tags. Some goods were donated by Wiggle because customers changed their minds and sent them back.

Clothes are in boxes or on rails and not in any size order, but it is a jumble, and I must say you do get a great deal of satisfaction when you find something wonderful in your size. There is no end of bike-upgrading bargains and the usual necessities at prices cheaper than online.

The day went quickly and over-ran a little to 2.30pm. We packed up the boxes and took them back to the Jole warehouse, a couple of thousand pounds better off than before. David reminded us that it costs around £10 to ship a bike to Africa, so I was pleased to hand over nearly 10 bikes-worth of my own cash and another 30 bikes-worth of money from selling items.

To find out more about the charity, visit their website and put the venue in your diary for every second Saturday of the month. Remember, new stock is always coming in, so make it a regular event.