Re-cycling project proves wheelie big hit

Bike Kitchen Mechanic Richard Kidd hands over a reconditioned cycle to nine-year-old James.

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A scheme to rehome unwanted bicycles and reduce carbon footprints in the process is gathering speed in Fort William.

Lochaber Environmental Group’s (LEG) Adopt a Bike is part of the Bike Kitchen project and ties in with its Low Carbon Lochaber initiative.

LEG’s Emma Walters told us: ‘The aim of the project is to support people to choose active means of travel in their everyday lives.

‘This is one of the simplest ways of reducing your individual carbon footprint; it is also cheap, healthy and fun.’

To encourage re-cycling and reduce waste, Bike Kitchen take donations of bicycles that people no longer want and mechanic Richard Kidd then rebuilds them for members of the community to own as part of the Adopt a Bike scheme.

‘All we ask is a small donation to help cover costs and for people to keep a travel diary so we can track the carbon offset of our project,’ added Emma.

Adopt a Bike has exceeded all expectations, with 42 bikes already reconditioned since August and 26 re-homed. Last Saturday an Adopt a Bike day for children allowed local youngsters to go along and pick up a bike safely.

Since adopting his bike, named Simon, during lockdown, Canadian Ash Demyen has cycled over 150 miles.

‘My life has changed for the better since having it in my life, and has taken me out of lockdown blues,’ he said.

‘My thanks go beyond words; what Lochaber Environmental Group does is more than supplying items for people, its changing peoples lives more than they can fathom.’

Donations of bikes from the community have been very generous so the project looks likely to continue to thrive and hopefully become financially self-sustaining in the long run.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, other aspects of the Bike Kitchen project have been on pause but the group expect to get up and running again properly in May.

Emma added: ‘As well as borrowing tools from the Bike Kitchen Tool Library, members of the community will be able to come along to work on their bikes and we will also be running maintenance workshops.

‘This really helps to keep the cost of running a bike down as people can learn to do their own everyday maintenance and save on the cost of expensive tools.’

To keep up with the level of demand Bike Kitchen are now seeking volunteers to go along and help.

‘This is a great opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and give something back to your community and the planet,’ said Emma.

‘You can give as little or as much time as you have available.’

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Richard or Emma on