A few days ago I ran into Adam while he was out from work getting his lunch. Adam is a sometime commenter on this blog, and he was riding his fixie, a vintage Malvern Star frame, built up, painted black and covered in stickers to maintain its anonymity and reduce its stealability.
He had acquired the frame from Daniel Endicott who runs the Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre in Islington. Daniel has been a local bike activist for a long time and the NBEC is famous for being a source of cheap bikes and parts, there is an amazing assortment of bikes there in all shapes and sizes.The NBEC also incorporates a bike library, where you pay a deposit for a bike and get it back when you return the bike, months later if that is what you want. Daniel has told me that many of the bikes I have featured on this blog are from the NBEC and I cannot count the number of times I have spoken to bike owners who have said “There is this guy in Islington who sells bikes … ” in relation to my questions about where they got their bike from or where they got the parts to do their bike up. Another bike frame from the NBEC
Daniel is also vocal in his beliefs about how bike infrastructure should work, his letters to the editor of the local paper are often published, and he coined the term “car door death lanes” to describe the ill-conceived bike lanes drawn on the side of the road which erroneously indicate where bike riders should ride.
The bike ecology centre runs workshops every Friday and Saturday where you can get help with fixing or repairing your bike and Daniel is also a great source of cheap bike parts and old parts for restoration.
I think it is great that there is such a resource available here and I know that his system works to get many people, such as students and travellers, onto bikes, and it also emphasizes the sustainable aspects of bike riding. Many towns have such co-ops where variants of this service take place. I have heard of one in Melbourne which has bike tools and you can go there to work on your bike, a very valuable resource for those who want to work on their bike but can’t afford the tools or do not want to purchase them for a one-off job, after which they will take up space and be unused.