Paisley Daily Express
Everyone’s getting on their bike thanks to Marc and his team
A community bike charity has been riding high during lockdown after being inundated with requests.
Own Yer Bike was set up in March last year by dad-of-three Marc Small to give young people in Ferguslie Park the chance to get a bike and learn new skills.
It had been growing steadily with people receiving training qualifications in how to service bikes and regular groups of youngsters going to open afternoons to learn more about how to do repairs.
But since lockdown, Marc said they’ve been rushed off their feet with people desperate to get their hands on new child or adult bikes or get their existing bike serviced.
Since the end of March Marc, along with volunteers Brian and Ian Woods, has fixed up and sent out about 35 bikes every week – almost 700 bikes in total.
They’ve also received £10,000 funding from the Big Lottery to help buy two 40ft containers to boost their site at the back of the Tannahill Centre and £3,000 from Ferguslie Park Housing Association to help get local residents back on their bikes.
Marc said: “It’s been absolutely crazy. We’ve been working six days a week to keep up with demand.
“We’ve had an unbelievable amount of bikes donated to us and we’ve raised over £3,000 doing servicing and repairs. We don’t charge children for a service or repair.
“At the start of lockdown I put an appeal on Facebook asking people if they had any donations of bikes. I hoped we would get a few but it was shared 53 times – I was all over Glasgow and the West of Scotland collecting them.”
Marc said they’ve got lots of donations of children’s bikes but could do with more adult bikes if anyone has any lying about they no longer use.
“We’ve got about 100 kids bikes and we’re giving away about 10 every week,” he said. “We post a picture of them on Facebook and if people want them, we’ll repair them. We don’t want to waste our time repairing a bike that no one wants. We don’t charge up to an 18-inch frame.
“Lots of people have asked about adult bikes, so we need more of those.
“We also have a couple of disability bikes which need fixing up if anyone is interested in those.”
More people are choosing to cycle during lockdown as fears remain over using public transport and roads are quieter with less traffic which has been good news for Own Yer Bike.
Marc said: “I’ve noticed loads more families out on their bikes during all this. It has been great.
“It’s been good for us, absolutely. We are 1000 per cent busier than we were.
“We’ve not been able to have the kids in helping us so I’m very grateful for Brian and Ian who’ve helped me out or else I would have been doing this all myself.”
Marc plans to have his four storage containers painted black and arranged in a U-shape with an open workshop in the middle.
He’s also looking in to getting shop premises which will help create jobs for young people who are interested in getting more involved in bike repair and servicing.
If you are interested in donating bikes or finding out more about the project, go to facebook.com/ownyerbike/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org