What is a bicycle kitchen?
A bicycle kitchen is a community bike project that provides a space where cyclists can get access to workstands and good quality tools, along with experienced mechanics to help them do everything on their bike from simple maintenance to a complete rebuild.
Why are we doing this?
The bicycle is a truly remarkable piece of technology and represents the most affordable and environmentally-friendly method of transportation beyond walking. Like all forms of technology it requires some simple maintenance to continue to operate effectively, but for many people the cost of having this done professionally is prohibitive and the lack of knowledge makes doing it yourself daunting.
At RBK we believe in a collaborative community where we support each other and share facilities and knowledge to ensure that everyone has access to the tools and expertise they need regardless of wealth, gender, age, background or social status.
What equipment and facilities will you have?
We have a number of bike workstands, a supply of useful lubes and sprays, plenty of the core tools to go around as well and a collection of more advanced tools (e.g. wheel truing stand). As we grow, so too will our equipment. There will always be a kettle though, that much is for sure.
Due to demand we can always use more equipment and facilities. Please do get in touch if you have anything that you would like to donate or discuss.
Are there other projects like RBK around?
RBK is the first weekly-opening bicycle maintenance-based community project in Reading, though various people and groups (including Reading Cycle Campaign, Reading Repair Cafe and Dr Bike) already do a great job of promoting cycling and maintenance in the town.
Here are some of our closest fellow bicycle kitchen styled projects:
Here is a list of others around the world.
How can I help right now?
We also have a donation page that will feature items we need and an opportunity for anyone who can help with cash donations.
If you know your way around a bike or would like to help with the organisation then please visit our volunteers page.
If you're keen to help out but not looking to become a mechanic, then fear not! We have all manner of helpers and are always looking for like minded individuals to bring new skills to the table. Simply sign up to volunteer updates.
How much will it cost?
The bottom line is that we want to charge everyone as little as possible. RBK should feel as free as possible and we are not going to let money become a barrier for anyone wanting to use it.
We will have running costs that need to be covered (rent etc.) but the drop-in sessions will be staffed by volunteers. Please see the home page for our current prices.
I know absolutely nothing about bike maintenance...
...then RBK is the perfect place for you. Come along to and learn the basics; be that changing a inner tube, adjusting your brakes or truing a wheel (don't worry - we'll explain this one in due course).
Will you sell bikes and parts?
We have a supply of second hand parts that will be available to members, as well as a limited range of new 'consumable' bikes parts (e.g. brake/gear cables, inner tubes). We also sell fully 'up-cycled', reconditioned bikes. These have been refurbished by our lovely volunteers and then checked over by a trained mechanic - we only sell bikes that we would ride ourselves.
We are not a replacement for your local bike shop though and we hope to partner up with the best shops in town to offer our members some great deals.
We also run an earn-a-bike scheme with Reading's Launch Pad charity, not too dissimilar to this one in Bristol. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Will you fix my bike for me?
Absolutely not. We are not a bike shop. We exist to support you fixing up your bike.
Don't worry, there will always be a friendly face to get you set up and a mechanic to offer advice.