Blog Action Day 2014: What do bikes have to do with inequality?

Today is blog action day, so we’re joining thousands of bloggers around the world who are having their say on this year’s topic: inequality. Oxfam has calculated that in 2014 the richest 85 people on the planet owned as much as the poorest half of humanity, and this gap is growing.
This may seem a little off topic for a blog that is primarily about bicycles. But to me, the way we tackle inequality is this: we dream about the kind of society we want to live in and then we fight like hell to make it happen. And at Broken Spoke we’re pretty good at making things happen.
  • Over 250 people have taken one of our courses. That’s 250 people who are better equipped to care for and fix their bike, are less likely to abandon it when things get tough, and feel empowered by their new found knowledge.
  • Over 1000 hours have been given by volunteers. Volunteers who are making a positive difference to their community and helping Broken Spoke achieve its mission. As one satisfied customer put it “the expert volunteers made it a great experience.” Thanks guys – we couldn’t do it without you!
  • Over 1550 people have visited our workshop: made use of our tools, our expertise, and felt part of a bike fixing movement.
We’re fighting inequality in our own small way. We’re making cycling more affordable, we’re sharing knowledge and we’re building a movement from the community upwards. In partnership with Crisis Skylight Oxford, we use abandoned bikes to provide free Build-a-Bike courses for clients who learn valuable skills and gain confidence through the process of rebuilding the bikes. Participants have the extra benefit of owning a bike at the end of the course.
As the much quoted Margaret Mead reminds us:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.