Welcome to BACK2Bikes

BACK2Bikes is
not-for-profit organisation, helping people in the local community

Donations

Donations

We need donations of any of the following

  • Bikes (whole or complete, preferably the latter and serviceable)
  • Bike Parts (especially lights, tyres, tubes, saddles, wheels)
  • Time (To source bikes, pickup bikes, fix them)
  • Money (Any kind or amount accepted)

Bikes and parts need to be of some use. Supermarket bikes such as Huffy, Dunlop and Kent are to be avoided. Just take them to the South Melbourne Transfer Station for metal recycling. See under “Supermarket bikes” below for some reasons why we don’t want them.

If you able to bring a bike or bikes to us, we would appreciate it, otherwise we can arrange a pickup.

If you can help in any way, please use the contact form to drop me a line.

Supermarket bikes – Just say no!

Here’s why supermarket bikes are no good for us, and it may help you understand why you shouldn’t buy them in the first place.
Weight They are heavy like a boat anchor. It doesn’t make much difference to the ride, but whenever you have to carry them around, or lift them onto a bike rack you will notice.
Wheels The wheels are poor quality, and are not built properly, so they don’t run true (even from new). The rims are painted, so the brakes don’t work properly until they wear through the paint, and then they start rusting.
Brakes The brakes don’t have inline cable adjusters, you have to adjust them on the cable clamp. Because the wheels don’t run true, the brakes have to be de-adjusted, which means the brake levers are almost touching the handlebars before they start to work. Plus the paint on the wheel rims mean that they don’t work very well. It’s just not safe to go any speed on them because of this lack of stopping power.
Rust Most good bikes use alloy components, and high quality chrome steel, but supermarket bikes use low quality metal and chrome plating for almost everything, which rusts very quickly. Nobody wants a rusty bike.
Gears The gears are low quality, usually twist grip shifters, and the lowest quality derailleurs. This is probably a minor issue, if they are adjusted properly (which they often aren’t), then it’s acceptable, but it’s the low quality icing on a low quality cake :)

If you need a cheap bike, you are better off getting a quality recycled bike from us. It is likely to be better made than a supermarket bike, won’t rust as easily, and has had all the worn parts replaced.

Chinese bikes

A few “classic” Chinese bikes make it to our shores, and while they look good when new, rapidly deteriorate. It’s a combination of 1940′s technology with the cheapest metals available that is a disaster in the making. Similar reasons to the supermarket bikes…

  • They are very heavy
  • Braking rods have little or no adjustment
  • Horse-shoe brakes operate on the top surface of the wheel rim, and barely work well enough to stop you
  • They rust like blazes

Classic gents and ladies bikes

We love these. The frames were very well made, and while they are a little heavier than modern frames, are very robust, and make a good basis for a practical bike.

They are now fashionable, and it’s getting harder to find them in the hard rubbish, as there is always someone wanting to fix them up.

We can still get parts for them, even down to the 3 speed Sturmey Archer hubs. See the article on Classic bikes

Mountain bikes

Most of the bikes we receive are mountain bikes, usually with suspension forks and knobbly tyres. These are easy for us to fix, and we often put slick tyres on them to make them more suitable for road use (it makes them a whole lot faster), and the tyres are still fat enough to cope with dirt/gravel tracks.

Hybrid bikes and flat bar road bikes

These are the most sought after format, as they have narrower tyres than a mountain bike, and larger wheels, so they move along very quickly, and have very good brakes. They are a very practical bike, and are well suited to commuting.

Road bikes

We don’t get much in the way of high end road bikes, and pretty much nothing in carbon. These bikes are still too valuable to find their way to us. There are longevity issues with carbon frames – they won’t last like steel or alloy frames.

We do get a few old classic steel framed racers in, and they are easy to restore. Sometimes we convert them to a flat bar road bike (like a hybrid bike), because there is more demand for them.

Fixy

Fixy bikes used to be very fashionable, but the shine has gone off them a bit now. Anyone who’s ridden one realises their limitations pretty quickly. These bikes were designed for track racing, where brakes are not necessary, and in fact would be dangerous  on the velodrome in a race. You wouldn’t want to hit the brakes when you have other racers breathing down your neck.

On eBay you will see bikes or frames offered, which can be converted to fixy, but really you should use a frame with horizontal dropouts on it if you are going the fixy route, and you should put at least one brake on it.

We are busy enough doing bikes with gears and brakes, so we don’t do fixy bikes. We are, however, happy to do you a single speed bike (with a freewheel rather than a fixed hub), and we’ll definitely put brakes on it.