Bike project is helping hundreds of people in Kirkcaldy

Colin McQuillen, senior youth worker and mechanic
Colin McQuillen, senior youth worker and mechanic

Gallatown Bike Hub started up six years ago as an informal group to help teach people the basics of bike mechanics.

Today it is a thriving social enterprise company with four directors, two part-time mechanics, two people employed through Community Jobs Scotland and an enthusiastic band of around 20 volunteers.

A proposed bike pump track will be open to the public

A proposed bike pump track will be open to the public

It has given out over 750 refurbished bikes to people in the local community and beyond to enable them to travel to work, attend appointments, seek employment or just have fun.

It runs a children’s bike swap scheme where children who don’t have a bike can get one and, when they outgrow it they can return it and get a bigger one.

It also runs regular cycling sessions in the local community, encouraging people to take up cycling as a regular means of exercise and is in the process of building a bike pump track at the former Gallatown Bowling Club with ramps, jumps and other obstacles to allow riders of all ages and abilities hone their skills.

“When we first started we worked with Dave Seaman, of Dave’s Bike Shed in Aberdour, who was fantastic and came along to teach me and a few volunteers to be bike mechanics,” explained Shuggy Hughes, one of the directors.

The bike hub runs cycling activities in the local community

The bike hub runs cycling activities in the local community

“It was quite informal and we met one night a week at the old bowling club.

“Now we’re open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 5pm and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm and we fix bikes every day in our workshop.

“We offer professional repairs, servicing and sell parts in our small community bike shop, as well as lovingly recycled second hand bikes, with any profits being re-invested in our community projects.

“We’ve given out more than 750 bikes – more than 100 a year – most donated from the public through social media. We have applied for funding to refurbish another 600 bikes to be given out in the community over the next two years.

Brandon Duff carries out repairs on a bike

Brandon Duff carries out repairs on a bike

“If people can afford to give us something for the bikes then that’s great, or they can pay them up and take them away.

“We had Climate Challenge funding, which ran out this year, and we’re hoping to build on that for the Gallatown Hub and to expand the service into Smeaton, Templehall and Linktown, creating new hubs in Templehall and the Links.

“We work closely with the Middle Den Mountain Bike Club and we also work with schools in the area to offer courses in bike mechanics and community cycling.

“There are exciting times ahead and the Bike Hub is doing really well.”

Hundreds of bikes have been repaired and donated to people who need them

Hundreds of bikes have been repaired and donated to people who need them

Kieran Smith (13) is a supporter of the project

Kieran Smith (13) is a supporter of the project