Bike Kitchens are Helping Boost Cycling Culture

These local bike care workshops are aiming for friendlier cities.

A basket with fresh goods on a bicycle.

(Denis Starostin /

Cycling as a way of getting around is considered one of the most efficient ways to travel due to its small carbon footprint. Many people would be happy to ride a bike in their everyday life, but to be massively adopted, better infrastructure and a cultural shift are needed. Bike kitchens, community-run biking hubs, are part of a worldwide movement that can help with just such a challenge. 

What are bike kitchens?
Bike kitchens are maintenance workshops providing their community members in hubs all over the globe with tools, used parts, and repair assistance to promote the use of bicycles locally. Many even donate bikes and have become spaces for social exchange and integration, The Conversation, a network of not-for-profit media outlets,

Better infrastructure also plays a key role in ensuring the safety and comfort of cyclists in areas such as the development of bike lanes and bike parking. Because of this, there’s a close correlation between better bike infrastructure and more riders, The Conversation points out. But that alone is not enough. Building a cycling culture that is socially accepted to most, means having significant amounts of people developing skills such as riding and bike maintenance. 

The benefits of a cycling culture
Transitioning from other means of transportation like cars and motorcycles to the mainstream use of bikes has many benefits for individuals, communities, and even the environment. 

Cycling promotes physical and mental health, improves social cohesion, and boosts mobility and independence. It is also affordable and more accessible to larger groups of the population. Not to mention that the infrastructure needed for bikes doesn’t require a huge budget from the public sector, a publication from the MIT Press, a global publisher affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, details

From here


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The publication, called Cycling for Sustainable Cities, explains how to make urban cycling safer, practical, and convenient for all ages and abilities. It claims that riding should be for everyone and not only for trained cyclists with expensive bikes. After all, bicycles are the most practical and sustainable means of travel for short and medium-distance commutes to and from work or school, and also for recreation and sport.

A sustainable way to travel
For individuals in many developed countries, transport can be the largest part of their carbon footprint. Transport accounts for around one-fifth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, Our World in Data, a scientific online publication, reveals.

For short or medium distances, bikes are one of the lowest-carbon ways to travel. The carbon footprint of cycling one kilometer (just over half a mile) is around only 16 to 50 grams CO2eq per kilometer and, even more shockingly, using a bike instead of a car for short trips would reduce a person’s travel emissions by 75 percent. 

Bike Kitchens in particular, extend the lifespan of bikes and their parts. They help build a community economy that prevents waste generation, since most parts are secondhand, fixed, or reused, The Conversation explains.

Bike Kitchens around the world
​​These workshops are to  be found all around the globe, with France the country with the highest concentration of them. l'Heureux Cyclage, the biggest local network, offers 250 workshops, and works with 110 thousand assistants yearly. Brussels has 18 bike kitchens, like Cycloperativa, the same number Australia has, with workshops such as ​​WeCycle and The Bike Shed in Melbourne. Austria has 10, with the world’s oldest established in 1983, called WUK.

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Either through the provision of tools, parts, workshops, fixing sessions, or bikes for free,  community bike kitchens encourage a more sustainable way of traveling that makes cities more friendly, while reinforcing community values. 

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