Life Cycle UK

Bicycles at LifeCycle workshop at Horfield Prison

Reuse feature: Life Cycle UK

This charity does so much more than sell bikes

Life Cycle UK occupies a large workshop in Horfield’s HMP Bristol, where the painted concrete walls are brightened up with partly-completed bicycles, tools and equipment. With a mission to help more people unlock the benefits of cycling, they accomplish that through offering the tools, equipment and training required to those who may not have the means or knowledge to consider themselves a ‘cyclist’.

Some of Life Cycle’s most well-known work is with offenders serving their time. Bike Back Bristol works with the Horfield prison to provide meaningful training and coaching to a group of offenders who tune up the bikes that are brought in. Through their participation, inmates have the opportunity to become accredited in Cycle Mechanics through City & Guilds – with the ultimate hope being that they can obtain work as bike mechanics once released.

Pre-loved bicycles are brought to Bristol Waste’s Household Waste Recycling Centres all the time. Instead of sending these often perfectly good bikes to be dismantled and recycled, we offer them to groups like Life Cycle who can give them a new lease on life.

“We started seeing more and more bicycles being brought in. Even though some were missing wheels or seats, we knew most had potential,” said Tom Watton, Operations Manager for Processing. “The frames are usually still in great condition and we would rather they go to a group like Life Cycle to be reused than the scrapheap.”

The Bike Back project has been so well-regarded that it was honoured with the Robin Corbett Award for Prison Rehabilitation in 2017. Roughly 320 refurbished bikes are sold each year at affordable prices aimed at providing low-income residents a reliable form of transportation.

“Companies like Life Cycle UK are perfect recipients of the bikes we take in,” said Watton. They restore the bikes to a like-new condition – keeping them out of the waste stream – those doing the restoring build key skills to help them when re-entering the workforce. If we can be even a small part of that, happy days!”

If you or someone you know has a bike that they would like to donate, bring it along to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres or one of Life Cycle’s drop off points. Bikes are on sale every Thursday between 10am-4pm, in the carpark of the prison, which is on Cambridge Road, Bishopston.

Learn more about Life Cycle UK and the work they do by visiting

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