Aberdeen's community bike workshop. Run for you, by you.
beCyCle is a community project (not a charity) which is run solely by enthusiastic volunteers. There are no paid positions, no boards, no bosses. Some have referred to us as a grassroots movement, and there might be something to it. Everyone involved in the project not only contributes with his/her own efforts and donations but also has the chance to shape it with his or her ideas and decisions. beCyCle is simply about sharing resources and knowledge by like-minded people. It is self-organized and heterarchical.
Some of the volunteers at beCyCle are highly qualified with years of experience in bike maintenance and repairs. Some have even been helping to set up similar projects elsewhere (e.g. in Germany, Spain and the United States) and are not only experienced as mechanics but also as tutors. By working together, sharing their skills and learning from each other the workshop becomes a highly creative space where new ideas and solutions are born constantly.
Others, who are new to bike maintenance (or bike building) can benefit from this collaborative environment by trying out their own skills and yet having qualified assistance, good tools and spare parts at hand – all free of charge.
The Student Association of Aberdeen University is sponsoring a certified training for interested volunteers each year.
beCyCle presents an alternative learning model to the top-down structure of schools and academia, where only certified teachers can pass their knowledge down in a formal, standardized fashion. As effective as that model is, beCyCle on the other hand is all about collaboration and "hands-on" and sharing. If you learn how to patch a punctured tube today, you can show it to someone else tomorrow. No need for a paper which certifies you as a "Qualified Patcher". Thus, knowledge is distributed and skills are applied effectively, and even though maybe slower, it is a great way of learning things effortlessly and creatively.
Within three to four months, one can gain enough experience at our workshop in order to fix almost anything on a bike.