Yorkshire cycling website


Resurrection Bikes

4th August 2018

Resurrection Bikes

John Rowe, founder of Resurrection Bikes, Harrogate

A thousand bicycles came into Resurrection Bikes' cramped courtyard and cellars at Westcliffe Hall, Harrogate, last year. Of those, the team of volunteers cleaned and fixed 600. Most were sold to local customers, and the others given away to refugees.

This charity cycle-recycle operation chimes with the times, as more and more people reject our throwaway culture and the damage it is doing to the places where we live.

The success of Resurrection Bikes also reflects the fact that it meets twin needs: those of people with unwanted but decent bikes who would like to find a new home for them, and those of people who want a second-hand bike at a reasonable price.

Resurrection Bikes: how it began

Resurrection Bikes began in John Rowe's garage in 2010, as a way of funding his daughter's charity gap year working with street kids in South America. He fixed up and sold a donated bike, and carried on from there.

Resurrection Bikes: the volunteers

Volunteer at Resurrection Bikes

A volunteer fixes up a bike at Resurrection Bikes, Harrogate

More bikes were given, and volunteers from Saint Mark's church worked on them. In autumn 2014, Resurrection Bikes moved into its current premises at Westcliffe Hall.

Gradually, the team of volunteers expanded: today it includes members of Wheel Easy cycling club, the Men's Sheds Association, and people who joined via Harrogate & Ripon Centres for Voluntary Services. Students at Henshaws Specialist College also come with their supervisors and work; refugees in Harrogate fixed up bikes for themselves, and two of them are still volunteering as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award.

There are currently 33 volunteers, and there is always a more experienced member of the team on hand to supervise. Volunteers are trained at occasional 2-day sessions run by Cycling UK.

Taking in donated bikes, and spending a few hours cleaning them and doing essential repairs, can be done with volunteers; it wouldn't be economic as a commercial operation with overheads and paid staff.

Resurrection Bikes: the charities

Craft Aid International is one of the charities benefiting from the money generated by sales at Resurrection Bikes. Susie Hart runs Craft Aid International with the aim of reproducing the model of a charity she previously founded and ran, Neema Crafts in Tanzania. Neema Crafts employs disabled people in craft workshops, a café, conference centre, and guesthouse. It is now self-funding.

Resurrection Bikes also donates funds to Aid to Eastern Europe. John Shackleton and the Aid to Eastern Europe team have made 47 trips so far, to deliver ambulances to countries in Eastern Europe that need them.

The third charity Resurrection Bikes supports is In2Out, which works with young offenders in Wetherby.

Resurrection Bikes: the bikes

Westcliffe Hall

Westcliffe Hall - Resurrection Bikes' HQ

There's a wide range of bikes available, from balance bikes for £10, to adult mountain bikes and about-town machines. The most expensive cycles Resurrection Bikes have sold were a Scott road bike, and a Mercian tandem, both priced at £750. (Prices are reasonable and non-negotiable).

The bikes that come in are cleaned and fixed (essential repairs), but not given a full refurbishment.

Resurrection Bikes: funding

The operation has benefited from Lottery funding, which allowed Resurrection Bikes to re-do the cellars where they are based, and buy tools. They have also received money from Cycling UK's Big Bike Revival.

Resurrection Bikes would like to be able to deliver Bikeability courses, and is hoping to get a few of the volunteers trained. So, if you're reading this, and you know of an appropriate grant or source of funds, or would like to make a donation - get in touch with Resurrection Bikes.


Resurrection Bikes, Harrogate Westcliffe HallFounder of Resurrection Bikes

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