Meet Victoria’s second-hand bicycle peddlers
In the market for a new second-hand bicycle? These recycled bike dealers are putting a new spin on old wheels.
When bike recycler Bart Sbeghen, aka Dr Cranky, began hearing about the other bike fixer-uppers working in Victoria, he had an idea.
“I thought, why don’t we all get together, magnify our resources?” says Bart.
There are roughly a dozen bike recycling or sharing programs running in Victoria, each with a specific aim, from redistributing repaired bikes locally to sending them to needy communities overseas.
While not an official union, six organisations met up for the first time a few months ago and others have since got in touch. It didn’t take long to realise they could help each other out.
“[Dr Cranky’s] needs kids’ bikes, some groups need road, some mountain, some adult,” explains Bart. “This way we can share them around.”
Rather than each group building a backlog of bikes they can’t use, they’re opening up the channels of communication to streamline the process of getting second-hand bikes to where they’re most needed.
“We want to work together. Sometimes we can get too many bikes individually,” says Bart. These can include poor-quality models, or ones that don’t suit the organisation’s needs. “So this was about looking at what we can do to share our resources, and how to manage bikes that can’t be refurbished… we don’t want to become a dumping ground, and become part of the problem.”
A key take-away from the meeting for Bart, however, was not just what can be done in the future, but recognising how much is being achieved already.
“We’re getting a handle on our impact,” says Bart, estimating that a huge 4000 to 5000 bikes are recycled collectively by these groups each year. “They’re all doing their bit.”