Discarded bikes recycled and peddled to students

Abandoned bikes left rusting across the University of Sheffield campus are being given a new lease of life and sold on to students and staff in a bid to promote cycling as an alternative form of transport.


More than 100 recycled bikes a year are refurbished by ReCycle Bikes in partnership with the Heeley Development Trust before being sold on to students.

Travel Planner Darren Hardwick, of the University’s Estates and Facilities Management, said: “Some of these bikes will have come from University donation sessions or collections of unwanted bikes. The students and staff pay £30 for a bike with the remaining cost subsidised by the University, and it all goes back to ReCycle Bikes to cover their costs.

small“We tag bikes and give a very reasonable period of time before we remove them. We also look for tell-tale signs that they have been abandoned, things like deflated tyres, rusting parts, cobwebs and more. There is also some self-policing where cyclists will report bikes that haven’t moved to us as they take up valuable spaces. If a bike is in good enough condition it will be fully stripped down cleaned, completely overhauled and sold as a low cost alternative to a new bike. If they cannot be refurbished and sold, bikes will be stripped for useable parts and the rest recycled as best as possible. Some bikes are sent to similar projects in Africa.

“Cycling promotions at the University, including this, ‘Dr Bike’ fortnightly checkups and cyclists showers are funded through income generated by charging for car parking. Any car parking charges sit in a ring fenced budget meaning that they can only be used to manage the car parks and promote sustainable alternatives.

“We're working on an agreement at the moment to get ReCycle Bikes on campus twice a week during term in a new trailer we've ordered for November, where they'll carry out free bike checks and repairs at low cost to students and staff, as well as selling accessories. It will be a real benefit for those who already are or want to try cycling.”

Darren Hardwick added: “Traffic can have quite a negative impact on the communities it passes through. This scheme helps to give something back to one of those communities, and, by promoting cycling, help reduce traffic in the long run to improve our environment.”

Additional information

For more information on the ReCycle Bikes project visit: http://recyclebikes.co.uk/donate-a-bike

The University of Sheffield 

With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, and 2007).

These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world. The University’s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.


For further information please contact:

Paul Mannion
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9851