We want the benefits of cycling – improved physical health and well being, freedom of movement and general joie de vie – to be accessible to all members of our community, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised.


How it works

  • We work with people who are experiencing financial hardship or social exclusion
  • We provide them with an abandoned bike
  • Over the course of several sessions at our workshop they learn and do the necessary repairs to spruce the bike up and make it safe to ride
  • At the end of the programme they get to ride the bike away for free complete with d-lock and light set

The benefits:

  • Access to affordable and active transportation for those who need it most
  • Developing cycle maintenance skills which are both practically useful and can increase confidence and self-esteem
  • Social integration in our community workshop – graduates who have gone on to volunteer with us help people from all walks of life to fix their bikes
  • Routes to further training – graduates have taken professional level courses in cycle maintenance

The teaching techniques used focus on hands-on learning, guided discovery and peer-to-peer learning with the intention of developing interpersonal and cognitive skills as well as teaching fundamental physics and mechanics.

Our most established Build-a-Bike programme is funded by Crisis and delivered to members of Crisis Skylight Oxford who are homeless or vulnerably housed. The members that we work with have all experienced challenges in their lives which have lead to homelessness such as mental health or addiction issues, family break down or financial hardship. Many have chaotic lifestyles and find the regularity of the Build-a-Bike class with the promise of a bike upon completion a stabilising and motivating part of their week.

If you are homeless or vulnerably housed you can access our Build-a-Bike class for free by becoming a Crisis Skylight member.

The Build-a-Bike format is very flexible. The level of time input from participants and the costs can be tailored to suit the needs of different groups. If you work with vulnerable members of the community who could benefit from Build-a-Bike we would love to hear from you!


Build-a-Bike has had a big impact on me, I took the course, then started volunteering to keep learning and help others. Eventually Crisis helped me to apply for funds to get my professional bike mechanics qualification. I’m now a regular volunteer at the Broken Spoke and I’m looking for work in the bike industry.David, Winter 2012
This is the first time I’ve stuck to any course right to the end, doing this has really motived me. I’m going to miss my Thursdays in the workshop. It’s an amazing scheme, I now know how to fix my bike, perhaps I’ll work in a bike shop in future. I’m not one for computers and would much prefer to work with my hands.Jayden, Summer 2014
I had to walk for an hour and a half each way to attend the course but it was well worth it when in the end I got my bike finished and I could ride home. I’m so much more mobile now.Brett, Summer 2014