Sometimes a spark of imagination sets off a chain of events that can make big differences. Recently at The Sean Kelly Tour I met up with Paul Carroll from Co. Waterford who has come up with, and put into practice a very clever and charitable idea.
One day last October, Paul was driving home when he spotted a gleaming kids bike left out by a neighbour with their bins to be dumped. He thought to himself ‘that’s a shame, there must be dozens of bikes like that, sitting unused in sheds and garages all over the country. Imagine the enjoyment some child who has never had a bike would get from that’
And so, Rebike was born.
Paul sat down that night, set up a Facebook page, and the rest, as they say is history.
The basic aim of Rebike is to take in unwanted or disused bikes, make them safe and roadworthy, and then pass them on free of charge to local kid’s groups, charities, schools etc.
They are happy to take any bike, of any type or size and in any condition. Often a bike that is too far gone for repair can be used to provide spare parts to repair other bikes, so the aim is to have as little waste as possible.
They have a small workshop in Waterford City where they store and fix the bikes, but have been all over the Country to collect bikes when people get in contact to say they’d like to donate.
All scrap metal is taken to a local licensed recycling facility, so nothing goes to waste.
Pauls’ regular job is shiftwork, so he does the Rebike work in his free time between shifts, his teenage son also helps in the workshop during weekends and school holidays.
To date they have donated renovated bikes to groups such as Children’s Group Link and Ballybeg Youth Education Project, both in Waterford City and also to Dungarvan CBS, as well as to private individuals. They are currently putting together 20 bikes as a large donation to an organisation in Co Cork. They are happy to receive inquiries at any time. In Pauls’ own words ‘this is what we are here for’
They will occasionally sell a bike for a low price, on request, and this covers the cost of repairing other bikes, so the whole process is more or less self-sufficient. Some people do not have the budget to purchase a new bike, so they try to help out when they can. The main aim is to make bicycles and cycling available to those people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to bikes.
Local bike shops have been very supportive, providing used or broken bikes and spare parts to keep Rebike going, so a very big thank you has to go to all of them, notably Altitude Cycle & Outdoor store, Waterford Cycle Centre and Spokes Cycles in Waterford, as well as Worldwide Cycles in Clonmel.
The response over the last ten months has been fantastic and Paul says that he is constantly blown away by people’s generosity and also their enthusiasm for what they are doing – the words of support and encouragement are very much appreciated.
Paul never imagined it would become so successful. His original thoughts were that he might gather maybe a dozen bikes and make 3 or 4 good ones out of all the parts, then pass them on to a local kid’s group or charity…so far well in excess of 100 bikes have passed through the workshop!
They have received great encouragement and support from Johnny Brunnock, of Go Dungarvan, who has helped raise awareness of Rebike by inviting them along to help out as mechanical support for events such as the Sean Kelly Tour and National Bike Week cycles.
So, there you have it, that’s the Rebike story so far. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to do something special and a whole new movement can begin.
If you have any queries, you can contact Paul by text or phone on 086 608 1952 or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rebike Facebook page can be found here