How a shedload of old bikes is helping men in Huddersfield

The entrance the Shed's Big Bike Revival event

How a shedload of old bikes is helping men in Huddersfield

Men are far more likely to feel isolated and lonely following retirement than women. Statistically they have fewer friends, fewer hobbies, and find it much harder to talk about their feelings too. In Huddersfield there's a place that brings men together - The Men's Shed. Together they fix bikes and, with the help of Big Bike Revival, make a difference.

Men’s Sheds operate around the UK, and offer men of all ages a place to socialise, share skills and get stuck into a project. An old railway carriage near Huddersfield train station provides the perfect setting for one group; a safe space for everyone, including those experiencing difficult events such as bereavement, redundancy, mental health problems or addiction.

This group’s main source of income was soon established through fixing old donated bikes, sprucing them up mechanically and aesthetically, and selling them on to customers. Unfortunately, the old secluded railway carriage wasn’t the most inviting place for new people to venture. This Men’s Shed needed to act fast to keep its flow of old bikes coming in, its members – Shedders – busy, and its accounts buoyant.

We would love to take part in another Big Bike Revival next summer. 

Ben Roberts, head mechanic

This was clearly an ideal group to be involved with Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival. Throughout June, signs were put up and the Shed was able to put on series of events designed to get more people interested and aware of its amazing work. Two big family events featured circus performers, smoothie bikes, and exercise bike races, which were especially popular with dads.


Children have a go at the smoothie bike

Ben Roberts, head mechanic, said: “I feel it was wholly successful, with over 150 people coming in to the Sheds to see what was going on and take part in the free workshop, and maintenance classes.

“We also saw an increase in business from general members of the public regarding bike sales and repairs, as well as an increase in members wanting to volunteer in our bike shed.

“Our most popular event seems to have been the free maintenance courses, where we taught simple bike repairs, such as fixing punctures, removing wheels and re-joining snapped chains.

Two members who took part in the free course went on to join the volunteering team, teaching mechanical skills themselves as well as handling customer enquiries". Ben added: “We would love to take part in another Big Bike Revival next summer.”

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