We’ve changed the way we’re operating to ensure the safety of our staff and the community
- We’re serving people at the door and not allowing anyone into the shop unless they are wearing a face covering and at the discretion of the staff member
- We’re operating by appointment only for most repair work. This helps to limit the number of people gathering at the shop by staggering arrival times. It also helps us mange the increased work load accredited to the reduction in private car use and public transport
- Punctures and some other minor works can be carried out on a while you wait basis and without appointment, but please call to confirm that we have capacity to do this before visiting
- We are wearing face coverings whilst serving customers to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19
- We are spraying all bikes with sanitiser outside the shop before we bring them in
- We are not coming into work if we or anyone in our household has symptoms as outlined by the WHO
What you can do to help reduce the risks
- Call in advance or send us an email as we may not have what you’re looking for and a journey to the shop will put yourself and others at risk
- Do not show up for your appointment at the wrong time as this may clash with another appointment
- Wear a face covering and sanitise your hands especially when handling products or using the card machine
- Keep a 2m distance from anyone else outside the shop and give our staff members room
- Be patient, this is an unusual time for everybody and our staff have been working very hard since March
Thanks for reading.
For more information visit WHO
Call us to book an appointment on 0121 459 7276
We are looking for a new member!
Birmingham Bike Foundry is located in Stirchley, B30 and has been operating as a worker co-operative since it was founded in 2010. Our business has grown steadily since then which means for the second time in 2020 we’re able to offer a position to a new member.
The new member role will start at 16 hours per week with the potential to increase in the future inline with busy periods or new business development.
We are excited to hear from people who are interested in repairing customers’ bikes, refurbishing bikes, designing custom bikes and helping support cycling activities across the city. We also want a new member who can help deliver training to schools groups and members of the public, who can keep our social media current and who can support the growth of the business as we explore new opportunities. This is a permanent role and we are looking for someone who is keen to get involved in and support the development of the growing co-operative movement in Stirchley which our shop is part of. As a fully mutual co-op we have a flat management structure and like all of us the new member will be paid a living wage, and have access to our pension scheme.
Because we are a worker co-operative we have no managers and instead all take ownership of the business. This means that any new member will need to be someone who is happy to take on challenges and tasks without being asked to do so and who is comfortable making important decisions as a group. We’d like to encourage expressions of interest from non-male applicants as we strive toward correcting the gender imbalance in the cycling industry.
We are working on ideas that will see our business grow even more in response to the exciting new uptake in cycling. If you think you could help us achieve this and would like to apply for the position please send us an email to request an application pack.
From 7th April Birmingham Bike Foundry operates by appointment only. We have decided that we will only carry out essential repairs and retail. You will no longer be able to drop your bike off at the shop, or buy components without a prior appointment. You can book an appointment by calling the shop on 0121 459 7276 in our opening hours.
Essential repairs include work on bikes which are being used by key workers to get to and from work, or needed to collect food and essential items for a household or vulnerable people.
We have taken these steps to enable us to keep key workers and those who have a real need for transport moving, whilst reducing the risk of spreading infection.
We have not taken this decision lightly. Concern for the community is one of the co-operative principles and we have been led by this in putting these measures in place. Bikes are important and we recognise how useful they are for people when social distancing. When we can reopen for other work we will still be here to offer the same service we have given customers in our community for the last ten years. We thank you for your forbearance at this time.
Our members are involved in a variety of solidarity organisations which are able to provide support and advice during this crisis.
-Chris, Ben, Sean & Nancy
Bike shops are explicitly excluded from the latest government instructions for more shops to close. All the procedures listed below still apply; the only further change to our operations is that we are suspending Tool Club, and are now closing at 6pm on Thursdays.
Here at the Bike Foundry we are taking steps to make sure that we minimise the risk of coronavirus infection, while also ensuring that people have their bikes to get around. We and other local cooperatives are doing what we can as businesses to support social distancing, the best method we have for slowing the spread of the virus ourselves. This is what we mean by ‘solidarity in separation’.
Bikes are a safer mode of transport in these times – public transport tends to bring people into close contact with each other, and not everyone has access to or can afford cars. Because of this, we will be continuing to do repairs and sell bikes and parts for as long as we can. But there are new steps we are adding to our process to reduce risk.
On arrival at the Bike Foundry, you will be greeted at the door by a worker who will find out what the problem is, and take your contact details, same as usual. Before bringing the bike into the shop we will rinse it with an antiviral solution. The worker will then bring the bike inside and wash their hands before continuing work.
Medical advice indicates that this will greatly reduce the risk of the virus spreading either directly between people, or on the surface of the bike. We will also be implementing more regular surface and hand cleanings throughout the day.
We rely on our customers to apply common sense and keep themselves isolated if they have any symptoms, or to do the same as a precaution if they have been in close contact with someone who has been ill.
The situation is changing rapidly. It is impossible to say with any certainty what the situation will be like in even a few days’ time, so we will update our processes as we learn more. This is a scary time, but we’re focussing on supporting the simple and effective steps we can all take – hygiene and social distancing. We’re also looking forward to working even more with local co-ops to help the community with food and supplies.
– Ben, Chris, Nan and Sean
Over the summer we’ve been hosting monthly rides in collaboration with Loaf workers co-op just up the road.
These are the details of the next one happening this weekend!
Join us for breakfast at Loaf before a cycle ride led by Birmingham Bike Foundry
Meet at Loaf at 9.30am.
You can leave your bike inside whilst we have breakfast in the cookery school.
Casual help-yourself breakfast of surplus bakery bread/toast/pastries and whatever else we can rustle up, plus coffee + tea.
Suggested donation of £3pp.
Ride leaves at 10am.
You are welcome to leave belongings at Loaf whilst you are on the ride.
The ride will be a 20-30 mile loop, returning to Stirchley for 1pm. You’ll need to be confident cycling on the road to join in. We will share the route prior to the event if you would like to familiarise yourself with it. Pace is roughly 12-15mph but is set by the group – no one will be left behind.
No need to book but please RSVP so we can get an idea of numbers. You can email us on email@example.com or email Birmingham Bike Foundry on firstname.lastname@example.org or respond on Facebook.
Last summer we were involved in designing and creating a cycle map of South Birmingham for the Old Print Works, a space for artist and makers in Balsall Heath. The idea behind the map was to highlight a number of safer cycling routes crossing from popular areas of the city and into the Old Print Works venue in Balsall Heath on the Moseley Road. The map also points out a number of art spaces and galleries in the area and key transportation links and bike shops. The map also has a circular route on the other side which runs from the Old Print Works through Cannon Hill Park and back round through Moseley and back to the start.
As keen cyclists we could see the value of having a new cycle map produced worked on the map. There used to be a very good one produced by the city council which is now out of stock, so this map fills a bit of a hole for us when we are advising customers on good routes in the area, which is really important to us as a shop that helps lots of people getting back involved in cycling or taking it up for the first time.
Old Print works held a launch day to celebrate the launch of the map and the rest of their cycling facilities in the summer which you can read about here.
We’re lucky to have a couple of designers working in the shop who worked on the map, and are really glad to see that it’s been printed, distributed and found it’s way across the city. Feel free to get in touch if you have a similar project you’d like some help with, we are happy to point you in the direction of good designers or consider taking it on board ourselves.
Tuesday 14th November 7pm-9pm : Artefact Cafe
Join us at Artefact Cafe for an evening of meeting people involved in co-operatives in Stirchley and South Birmingham more broadly. We’ll be hearing briefly from some of the worker co-operatives on the high street about how and why they set up and what they do. There will be people there who know a fair bit about co-ops and might be able to point you in the right direciton if your new to them, and there’ll be those who are totally new to it.
Worker co-operatives are a way of running our own work, without bosses. They follow some basics principles which allow for democracy in the workplace, collective ownership and allow workers to be actively involved in their jobs. We’ve seen a few of them started in Stirchley in recent years but see no reason that there shouldn’t be more. There’ll likely be people who are involved in other sorts of co-operatives too – housing co-operatives and consumer co-ops.
In winter of 2016 Birmingham Bike Foundry were the main organisers of a fundraiser for a Women’s co-operative bakery in Kobane. In total we raised £9700+ for the Bakery which is in Kobane a city rended apart by the long civil war in Syria, but now being run under democratic principles as an autonomous region.
We raised the money in collaboration with Radical Routes the federation of co-operatives which we are part of and Re-Build a kurdish organisation in the U.K which is supporting the process of rebuilding process in Rojava after it’s defence against ISIS Construction has begun at the huge bakery which will be one of the main suppliers of bread for the city and area. Our funding in still in the process of being transferred and will be spent on additional construction work and equipment.
We’d like to say a massive thanks to all the individuals and co-operatives who contributed to the fundraiser – some who opted to take money out of their wages or make donations large and small. In such a turbulent world we should be clear that the main way to support the struggle against ISIS and their strategy is to be uncompromising in our support for the struggle in Rojava.
We think it is important that the co-operative movement in the UK stands in solidarity with the people of Rojava when they need it so much, especially as their cause is not being supported by states and international bodies. There is a long tradition of international support from co-operatives to aid the fight against fascism dating back to the ‘Milk for Spain’ campaigns and the formation of the International Brigades who fought alongside Spanish comrades against Franco’s fascist forces. We need more fundraisers like this, more practical solidarity, more people being actively supporting the development of co-operatives in the region.
The bakery has recently been visited by members of the Plan C Rojava Solidarity Cluster who are based in Kobane who spoke to people there and were shown the progress on construction. We are working with them to have open lines of communication so that co-operatives in the U.K who were invovled in the fundraiser can have a direct link with co-operatives in Rojava.
We produced lots of shirts, mugs and posters of which we still have some for sale. If other co-operatives are intested in buying some for their members or for sale at events please get in contact with us on email@example.com
The poster has also gone up for sale on the U.S artist co-operative website Justseeds.org where we will be raising further money for the bakery or other fundraisers for the struggle in rojava. http://justseeds.org/product/solidarity-with-rojava/
Below are some photos of the construction work in process with some of the machinery which will be used for breadmaking already installed.
For information about other co-operatives in the region it’s worth checking out https://cooperativeeconomy.info/
Thanks to our friends at An Endless Supply we are launching a news section on the website with a reflection on the activities of our co-operative in 2016. Worker co-operatives like ours have a variety of goals ranging from improving the lot of our membership (that’s us the mechanics), to engaging positively with the community and other co-operatives. There is often lots of chatter about social enterprises and entrepreneurs, especially in the area of sustainable transport. Although it’s an attractive label for businesses to adopt it often isn’t borne out in the activities of the businesses; how they treat their employees and how they engage with the local community – hopefully this short piece will make clear what we do and why supporting a local bike shop and co-operative like us is worthwhile.
What have we been up to in 2016?
- Tool Club. Membership gives you access to our workshop and tools for one evening a week. This low cost solution to bicycle maintenance enable those who might not have space or specialist tools to do repairs on their bikes and practice their maintenance skills. Last year we had 37 new members to Tool Club and ran around 50 sessions. https://birminghambikefoundry.org/tool-club/
- Refurbished bicycles. We accept donations of bicycles and parts from the local community as an alternative to them being thrown into landfill and refurbish them, installing new reliable components where needed, with new cables and brake pads as standard. They are all trusty bikes ready for riding in the city. Over the past year we have refurbished and sold around 200 bikes. All of our bikes are carefully repaired and thoroughly checked over by our Cyctech 2 and City & Guilds qualified mechanics. All bikes come with a three month guarantee. https://birminghambikefoundry.org/bikes/
- Meeting room space. We have a meeting room upstairs in our shop, reminiscent of the traditional meeting halls in old co-operative food stores we use it for community meetings and education. Over the course of the year the space has been used for over 60 meetings, ranging from meetings of local co-operatives, English lessons for migrants, union and political meetings and reading groups. We topped this freezing winter off by buying a new and improved heater for the space to keep us toasty!
- Supporting the IWW union. Our members are part of the Industrial Workers of the World a self organised union which supports labour struggles in many different industries. Although we are a co-operative and don’t necessarily have problems with our bosses (because we don’t have any!) we think it important to be actively involved in unionism. Low wages and bad contracts affect our friends, families and affect the strength of communities. We see industries we are closely associated such as logistics and transport changing for the worse and negatively affecting workers, and want to support their struggles. Our workers have been involved in supporting other union members with casework and campaigns, we have used our space for union meetings, continued to run drop in sessions for the public on saturdays, and continued to host the West Midlands union office. https://iww.org.uk/
- Radical Routes. Birmingham Bike Foundry is a member of Radical Routes, federation of worker co-operatives, housing co-operatives and social centres helping promote social change in the U.K.. Radical Routes supports the development and creation of co-ops like ours and we are proud to be involved in supporting its activities. http://radicalroutes.org.uk/aims-and-principles.html
- Co-operation in Rojava fundraiser. As part of our work with Radical Routes, we did the heavy lifting organising a fundraising campaign for a women’s co-operative bakery in Kobane – Rojava, a city rent apart by the long civil war in Syria, but now being run under democratic principles as part of an autonomous region. We were involved in promoting nationally, making the links to make the campaign possible and producing artwork, mugs and shirts which helped raise money. We raised £8,900, which was only half our goal of £15k but we have made a lot of links which will allow the U.K. co-op movement to support co-operation in Rojava more in the future. https://coopfunding.net/en/campaigns/support-women-in-rojava-resist-fascism-build-co-operation/
- Stirchley The Way Forward. One of our members has been involved in this community group which is a constituted, not for profit group of local residents, traders and people who have an interest in Stirchley. The group, formed in opposition to a proposed Business Improvement District looks to support mutual aid between residents and traders in the area and fundraise for the good of the local community. http://www.stirchleytwf.co.uk/
- English language classes. We were involved in running two sessions of six modules working with migrants from the Kurdish – Syrian diaspora in Birmingham. Our members took part in childcare, lesson planning and delivery. Lessons learnt from this experience can be read about here: http://www.weareplanc.org/blog/teaching-english-to-migrants-in-birmingham/
Coming up in the rest of 2017
- More of the same! We intend to continue providing our workspace for Tool Club, our meeting room for community groups and refurbish donated bicycles for affordable prices for the foreseeable future.
- We are also excited to continue working with the IWW and are particularly excited to see how it goes with the attempts at securing better conditions for Deliveroo workers, who we feel we would have lots to share because of our shared industry.
- We have been working with Kushinga Gardens, which involves migrants, refugees and local community gardeners, to provide a bicycle maintenance training course for refugees. This will also include a open day in the summer at Kushinga Gardens on Raddlebarn Road.
- We are going to run a ‘How to set up a workers co-op’ course in spring, hopefully run in conjunction with other local co-operatives.
- We will be restarting the South Birmingham Co-operators group, helping to support and develop more co-operatives in our area. The first meeting will on Monday 10th of April at Loaf Bakery just up the road from ourselves.