Founded by Mike King in 2012, Back2Bikes is a social enterprise that began with a box of tools and a spot on the veranda of the Friends of the Earth Project in South Melbourne. Its mission? Accept donations of bikes no longer in use, fix them up and get them out to people in need.
After outgrowing its original location, Back2Bikes now occupies a larger space in Port Melbourne, where it runs paid training courses and workshops in bike maintenance and affordable bike servicing, all run by volunteers.
The small fees charged by Back2Bikes for the bike maintenance courses and services, as well as filling a community need for bike training and recycling, fund the organisation’s philanthropic work – namely providing bikes for people who, for whatever reason, can’t afford to purchase their own. Back2Bikes also sell reasonably priced second-hand bikes.
When COVID-19 hit in March last year, while some of the group’s activities had to stop, there was a significant increase in bikes coming in for a service, enabling the group to continue funding bikes for those in need.
In addition to their work around the community, Back2Bikes are the official distributor of Buddy Bikes in Australia and New Zealand. Buddy Bikes are alternative tandem bikes with rear seat steering for riders with special needs.