By Toby Wilsdon
A rough sleeper who cycled to Brighton from London via the M23 is just one of dozens of people to use a new bike hub.
The volunteer-led cycle repair and recycling initiative opened last week in a corner of Brighton’s former municipal fruit and veg market in Circus Street.
It is the brainchild of Duncan Blinkhorn, of Brighton-based charity Groundwork and a veteran of the city’s campaigning voluntary sector.
Among those who attended in the first week was Rix, a street sleeper who had ridden his faithful bike Eddie down from London a few weeks ago.
He said that, unconventionally, he had taken the M23 at one point, riding without lights, and had been stopped by the police.
Rix found out about the cycle hub after picking up a leaflet at Brighton Housing Trust’s First Base Day Centre
But after his bike was given a makeover, he said: “My brakes work. You’ve made my day!”
He added: “This bike is the best £35 I’ve ever spent. As long as you love your bike, it will love you back.”
Mr Blinkhorn, who also leads the Bike Train that operates along the Lewes Road from central Brighton to the universities at Moulsecoomb and Falmer, said that the hope of the project was to liberate people with little access to public or private transport.
Mr Binkhorn added that he wanted to build a strong cycling culture in the city, creating a virtuous circle of health and social benefits and more humanised public space.
Another customer was Agnicszka from Poland. She said she had come to get her brakes and gears tweaked and was very pleased with the result, adding: “When I ride my bike I feel freedom.”
The hub opened during the first Brighton Love Your Bike Week.
It culminated in a special free event on Saturday called The Spin, which featured stunt riders, an assault course and award-winning performance artists.
From now on, the workshop will be open on Saturdays from 11am to 3pm while there are plans to open a shop in Lewes Road shortly.
For more details visit http://brightonbikehub.org/.