Bikes

In this guide we investigate, score and rank the ethical and environmental record of 42 bike brands.

We also look conflict minerals, bike hire, secondhand bikes and give our recommended buys. 

About Ethical Consumer

This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

What to buy

What to look for when buying a bike:

  • Is it multi-purpose? Pick a bike that has a long lifespan, is fit for purpose and is going to be used regularly. (Steel bikes are your safe bet from a lifespan point of view).

  • Is it secondhand? A well-built second-hand bike from a local DIY bike project will outlive a cheap new one, so seek out second hand options first.

  • Is it from an independent bike shop? If buying new, we recommend going to a local independent bike store and seeking out a steel bicycle. And remember, try out a bike before buying it to ensure it is right for you. You can sometimes hire or borrow a bicycle that you are considering buying to try it, just ask the store about your options.

Subscribe to see which companies we recommend as Best Buys and why 

What not to buy

What to avoid when buying a bike:

  • Do you need a bike? If you are not going to cycle often, perhaps consider hiring instead of buying a new bicycle?

  •  Is it easy to fix? The simpler a bicycle is mechanically, the easier it is to maintain and, in theory, the longer it should live. If your local geography suits, consider a fixie?

Subscribe to see which companies to avoid and why

Score table

Updated live from our research database

← Swipe left / right to view table contents →
Brand Score(out of 20)

Our Analysis

Cycling as a mode of transport is always preferable to a car from an environmental perspective, as “the bicycle’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions are over 10 times lower than those stemming from individual motorized transport”, as one study reported. However, how a bike is made and used also matters.

This guide to bicycles explores the ethical policies and practices of the UK’s top selling bicycle brands (plus a few British-made bikes), to identify the ‘greenest’ bike of them all. We include brands that make a range of different bike types, from mountain bikes to sporty racers and folding bikes.

Mountain bikes remain the bike of choice for people in the UK (26% of cyclists own one), followed by the traditional ladies’ or men’s bike (19% of people own these). However, folding bicycles, gravel bikes and electric bicycles have seen a surge in popularity.

Although it constitutes a small part of the UK bicycle market at present, demand for electric bicycles is increasing fast and is expected to increase a lot more. We have therefore created a separate electric bicycle guide which rates the top ten electric bikes as rated by ‘A to B’ magazine, plus those offered by the biggest bike brands in the UK.

Time to cycle?

Bicycles present themselves as simple, elegant tools for pedalling out of a number of environmental and social potholes, including air pollution, climate chaos, the obesity epidemic and poor mental health. 

And yet only 34% of UK consumers regularly cycle and the proportion of women classified as ‘current riders’ has dropped from 32% to 27%. Furthermore, when time spent on the saddle is broken down, 70% is spent cycling for leisure and only 30% for commuting purposes. Why aren’t more people commuting by bicycle?

Image: bike lane

Barriers to greater uptake of cycling are complex, but poor cycling infrastructure across the UK appears to be key, with cycling on roads perceived to be dangerous. A number of campaign groups are working to overcome these barriers in the UK.

Transport blending is also becoming increasingly tricky as the UK public transport system continues to create barriers to travelling with a bicycle. Increasing numbers of UK train companies now require travellers to book their non-folding bicycles ahead of travel. Hiring bicycles at either end of your journey, or acquiring a folding bike, are potential work-arounds to this issue.

The following companies in this guide offer folding bicycles: Dahon, Halfords, Giant, Brompton, Raleigh (owned by Accell Group), Avocet Sport, Muddyfox (owned by Sports Direct), Dawes (Tandem Group Cycles), Woosh (e-bikes only), Rally Design Limited (e-bikes only), KwikFold Bikes Limited (e-bikes only), and Karbon Kinetics Limited (e-bikes only).

What is the greenest bike of them all?

Of the 57% of the UK population which owns a bike, 16% have two and a further 13% have three or more. Ethical Consumer will always preach the less-is-more line, recommending having one multi-purpose bicycle that has a long lifespan, is fit for purpose and is regularly used.

In choosing a green bicycle, you need to consider a number of things:

1. Buying second hand or new?

A well-made second-hand bike can outlive a cheap new one, and is environmentally better from a resource point of view. When it comes to buying a second-hand bike, we recommend seeking out your local DIY project and asking for advice. See our DIY directory to find some of the UK’s great bike projects.

If buying new, we recommend seeking out your local independent bicycle shop and getting advice on size, usability, etc. We also recommend trying out a bike before buying it – to ensure it is right for you. You can sometimes hire or borrow a bicycle that you are considering buying, to try it, just ask the store about your options.

2. Hiring a bike?

If you aren’t going to cycle often, why not consider hiring a bike if the option is available to you?

A number of public hire schemes have rolled out across the country, a few of which are highlighted below. Some involve a fee for using the service (annual payment for example); but many just charge for each journey.

Dockless bike sharing is the new rage in the UK with Chinese-owned ofo (available in London, Cambridge and Oxford) and Mobike (available in Newcastle, Manchester, Stockport and London) being the first to enter the market. To access the bikes, you need a smartphone with the relevant app downloaded on it, plus a credit or debit card. You then locate a bicycle on a map, visit it and scan a QR code to unlock it and you’re off. Once finished, you just leave it somewhere safe.

This ‘floating hire’ model is fairly new to the UK, and teething problems have occurred with some bicycles getting vandalised, stolen and left clogging up walkways or canals. A list of other dockless bike hire schemes can be found on Cycling UK’s website.

Image: rent a bike

Boris bikes, now known as Santander cycles, use docking stations that are dotted around London. The scheme is aimed at people wanting to make short trips. You pay a “£2 bike access fee for 24 hours, you can make as many journeys as you like within that time, and the first 30 minutes of each journey is included. Longer journeys cost £2 for each extra 30 minutes or less”.

The bicycles are now being made by Pashley Cycles, and are maintained by Serco (Ethiscore of 5) and are sponsored by Santander (also has an Ethiscore of 5). A number of similar schemes have sprouted up in other cities around the UK. To find out about these and e-bike hire options, see Cycling UK.

Bromptondock has 40 dock stations around the UK and encourages medium and long-term borrowing, allowing you to take bicycles to work and home. Cities hosting the scheme include Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, London, Guildford, Oxford, Didcot, Stoke, Southampton, Norwich, Portsmouth, Peterborough and Woking. One condition to be aware of is that if the bike is stolen whilst in your care you will be charged £350 to replace it.

3. Materials

The materials used in making a bicycle can affect both the environmental impacts associated with manufacturing and the bicycles longevity. Ultimately, we want to keep old bicycles in use and support the production of new bicycles with a long lifespan. A robust frame is therefore key.

The most common (affordable) frame choices are steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. All come with different price tags and weights, but all are energy intensive to produce, involve pillaging the earth for minerals, and all have complex global supply chains. Although some studies have started to look into the life cycle analysis of bicycles, none compare different bicycles’ environmental impacts like-on-like. Comparing impacts is also made tricky by the supply chains of minerals, especially recycled alloys, being hard to trace to source.

In a report commissioned by bike manufacturer Specialized, the aluminium frame came out worse than the carbon fibre frame from a carbon perspective (about 170 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents per kg of bike vs. about 60 kg). Water wise, aluminium was better, using around 1,490 litres of water per kg of bike compared to 2,160 litres of water per kg of bike for carbon fibre.

Steel and aluminium environmental comparisons for bicycles appear non-existent. One article stated, “in general, producing steel emits less carbon than producing aluminium –1.8 tons of CO2 per ton of steel to 2.2 tons of CO2 per ton of aluminium”, referencing a 2011 aluminium industry sustainability report.

In terms of longevity, steel comes out best if cared for. Steel and aluminium are also easier to recycle and use in making new bicycle frames.

Image: bamboo bikes

One material to watch in future may be bamboo, which has the potential to create bicycles with a very low carbon footprint. However, bamboo bikes are currently labour intensive to build, resulting in high price tags. If interested in exploring this option further, visit the Bamboo Bicycle Club’s website which runs courses on making your own bamboo bicycle.

4. Maintenance

The better you look after your bike, the longer it should last and the less waste you should produce. So, remember to keep your chain lubed, your tyres inflated, your brakes well maintained, and protect the bike from the rain if kept outside. In addition, the simpler a bicycle is mechanically, in theory the easier it is to maintain.

When asked “what is your most environmentally friendly bicycle?”, Halfords responded: “REAL Singolo Fixie – this is based on the bike being made from steel with no gears and a minimalist design and therefore lower carbon emissions to manufacture.” However, obviously, the lack of gears would limit what you can do with it.

Score table highlights

Bicycles may be ethically benevolent when you are riding them, but the manufacturing still needs to catch up. As highlighted in the Ethiscore table above, most companies score a worst in the Environmental Reporting and Supply Chain Management categories, with little improvement in reporting compared to 2012 (when we last reviewed bicycle manufacturers).

Most companies also lose marks under the Pollution and Toxics category for retailing Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), as campaigners have for years raised concerns over the toxic issues related to PVC.

Companies that retail leather without a leather sourcing policy also lose marks under the Pollution and Toxics and Animal Rights categories. Leather, as the hide of a dead animal, naturally decomposes, and to prevent this decomposition the leather industry uses a cocktail of harmful chemicals, including trivalent chromium sulphate, sodium sulphide, sodium sulfhydrate, arsenic and cyanide. Tannery effluent also contains large amounts of other pollutants, such as protein, hair, salt, lime sludge and acids. These can all pollute the land, air and water supply, making it a highly polluting industry.

Improved ratings

As always, some exceptions to this poor practice do exist.

The Accell Group, for example, has improved its Environmental Reporting score to a middle by setting environmental reduction targets, including reducing waste by 2-4% per bike per year and CO2e emissions by 1.5% annually. Accell group also monitors its energy efficiency, CO2 emission and waste reduction programmes on an annual basis.

Halfords improved its Supply Chain Management rating to a middle, and Pashley received a best rating in this category. Both have relatively good supply chain policies and show a commitment to long-term relationships with suppliers.

Pashley also seeks to manufacture components in-house and sources locally wherever possible, stating it is “currently supported by almost 100 British component suppliers and over 85 British service and utility companies. In addition to using British-made mudguards, chain and seat stays, cables and wheels on our cycles, some other notable suppliers we have a long-established relationship with are: Brookes Saddles, Reynolds 531 Steel for frames, Sturmey Archer Hub Gears.” 

Conflict minerals

With the rise in popularity of electric bicycles come ethical concerns over mineral sourcing for electronics components, especially as no company covered in this guide publishes an adequate (if any) minerals sourcing policy. Many companies in this guide also make electric bikes – see our electric bike guide.

Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten and Gold (3TG for short) are key components of electronic devices and are commonly referred to as conflict minerals - minerals often mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is not clear whether these minerals are used in electric bicycle manufacture. 

However cobalt is definitely needed to create lithium-ion batteries, its mining has been linked to dangerous and unhealthy working conditions, deaths and widespread child labour. 

Ethical Consumer expects companies manufacturing electric bicycles to publish a mineral sourcing policy that shows a commitment to conflict-free sourcing, with ongoing due diligence and support for conflict-free initiatives in the DRC region. No companies that sold electric bicycles in this guide had an adequate minerals sourcing policy, and so were marked down under the Habitats and Resources and Human Rights categories.

Recycling your Bike

No matter how well you maintain your bike, there will always be some waste.

A number of the DIY projects welcome old bicycles, particularly if they are in relatively good condition or have salvageable parts. Halfords runs a bicycle take back scheme, as does Evans Cycles who offer up to £350 off your next bicycle if you trade in your old one.

Old inner tubes can be re-used as bungee cords for strapping things to a bike. They can also be turned into a wallet or posted to Cycle of Good, Krizevac Project, Atlas Works, Paragon Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST3 1NR. Cycle of Good aims “to save every single inner tube in the UK from going to landfill”, turning them into bags and wallets that are made by tailors in Malawi. Finished products are then shipped and sold in the UK.

Old tyres and other bike parts are harder to re-use. They require some more creative experimentation: old tyres can be turned into belts, old chains into bottle openers or key rings...

Bike Kitchens

beCycle is a community-based workshop, which not only offers tools, spare parts and competent help to anyone who comes in, but also lends bikes out for free, and organises a weekly bike ride and weekend trips. “Starting from scratch but with plenty of enthusiasm we gather orphaned bikes, fix them up and bring them back to life.”

 

Partly funded by its bike shops, Julian House is a social enterprise that provides housing and support for socially marginalised individuals in the South West. Its bicycle workshop in Bath has partnered with the local council to provide open, monthly bike kitchen sessions, with mechanics on hand to provide advice. Donated bikes are either sold or used in its Build-a-Bike projects, offering vulnerable people the opportunity to repair a bike for their own use.

Bath workshop 01225 463350

 

Lawrence Street Workshops sells recycled bikes and promotes cycling through organised bicycle rides.

A workers’ co-operative that recycles bikes and promotes cycling activities (including bicycle polo – see their website for more details!). It offers workshop repairs; runs courses in maintenance, cycle training, and wheel building; and operates a ‘tool club’ where people can come along and use their workshop for a yearly price of £15.

Part of Lewes Road for Clean Air community group and working in conjunction with the University of Brighton’s Student Union, the bike hub is open four days a week for free access to tools, workspace, volunteer assistance and affordable new and used parts. Also sells second-hand bikes.

A volunteer-run, not-for-profit, do-it-yourself bicycle workshop where you’ll be shown how to fix and look after your bike. It also sell recycled bikes and accessories. Its ‘Bike Hospital’ offers mechanics at public events to share bicycle skills.

The Kebele Community Co-op has an open volunteer-run bicycle workshop which aims to promote and maintain the use of bikes in the Easton area of Bristol. A self-funded, not-for-profit organisation, it depends on volunteers and donations of bikes.

Sells recycled bikes and offers maintenance courses in Bristol and Derby, as well as training all over the country.

Working with the whole Bristol community, with schemes to empower the underprivileged and marginalised, ‘Earn-A-Bike’ gives people the chance to refurbish a bike into one they can keep, and the ‘Bike Kitchen’ enables them to maintain it. The project also runs maintenance classes, women-only nights, and ‘volunteer courses’ helping people with mental health issues, learning difficulties and substance-abuse problems to volunteer in the workshop.

Recycles and sells bikes and parts. Bicycle maintenance courses offered through their parent company, Cycle Training Wales.

A friendly DIY community bike workshop. It is completely run by volunteers and open twice a week for the use of space, tools and mechanics in return for a donation. Running classes over the coming months ranging from the essentials to more advanced tinkering.

Part of the Coventry Peace House (a housing co-operative and a peace and environment centre). It is run by a small team of volunteers, who recycle and sell bikes (usually for under £50). Profits go towards the community projects run by the Peace House.

A not-for-profit Vocational Training Centre for young people struggling with mainstream education. It offers group maintenance courses on request and a free open pop-in workshop once a month with tools, mechanics, biscuits and tea.

The Wee Spoke Hub is the cycling arm of the Shrub Swap and Reuse Hub, a community-led cooperative in Edinburgh. It runs cycle training courses and a pay-as-you-feel workshop twice a week for bike repairs, with tools and parts as well as volunteers for advice. It also lends the space to Crisis charity, for its essential bike maintenance courses for those without permanent abode. Donated bikes are repaired and given to those who might not otherwise have access.

“A registered charity and successful social enterprise getting more people riding more affordable bikes more often”. Ride On provides bikes to young people who are learning to ride at school, sells recycled bikes and offers maintenance courses and Tuesday Tune Ups – explaining servicing one component at a time. The workshop is open once a week for BYOB (bring your own bike) sessions – pay-as-you-feel and with a mechanic on hand to help out.

From a small stall in Barras Market, Bike for Good now has a team of 50 that refurbish and repair bikes for sale. It also offers bicycle parts as well as maintenance classes teaching you how to use them. Its Victoria Road branch runs cycle training and a community hub with free workshops, including after school bike clubs and community rides. The Bike Academy for young people provides everything from cycle training to employability sessions and one-on-one mentoring.

Haugh Road shop 0141 248 5409 Victoria Road community hub 0141 261 1609

Gloucester Bike Project is a not-for-profit social enterprise selling refurbished bikes, from racers and vintage to mountain, town and Dutch-style, as well as children’s bikes. Free workshops teach Gloucestershire residents bike maintenance. Free bike building workshops provide bicycles to around 50 young people each year, and the free bike loan scheme lends fully equipped (helmet and lights included) bicycles out for eight weeks to those who want to try out cycling.

Bike Lab is a free-to-access, volunteer-run, weekly community bicycle workshop. Fostering a “DIY skill sharing culture”, it sees around 15 DIY-ers a week in the winter months and 25 in summer.

CycleRecycle sells recycled bicycles. Offers a part-exchange on donated bikes. 01502 741155

 

Pedallers' Arms is a co-operative of volunteers, which runs drop-in sessions for people to learn how to repair their bike. It asks for a small membership fee from those who can afford it, and accepts donations, “but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. The emphasis is on anyone can fix their bike. We have tools, books and time for you.”

Re-Cycle Engineering is a walk-in workshop, selling refurbished and (occasionally) new bikes, parts, and components.
0113 274 5229

The Bikes College is a not-for-profit social enterprise that recycles unwanted and abandoned bicycles. They give them to local community groups, use them to teach maintenance and sell them at highly discounted prices. For those buying, it offers part exchange on donated bikes and a MUNS (Make Up No Story) warranty: “...if you do not like your bike then come down and replace it with another one or get your money back. No need to make up a story!”

A Salvation Army social enterprise, Re-cycles Merseyside offers bike mechanic courses to local people, with a focus on those who are experiencing homelessness. Open three days a week offering bike servicing and repairs, and selling refurbished bikes.

Used Bicycles UK sells recycled bicycles. Offers part-exchange on donated bikes.

Bikespace, a not-for-profit, community-run space based in the Infoshop Social Centre. Volunteers run a workshop for repairs, with tools and spare parts. Also sells second-hand bikes.

Bikeworks, a social enterprise offering cycle training, repairs, bicycle recycling, travel planning and sales of new and refurbished bikes. It reinvests 100% of its profits into its community cycling programmes, with all-ability cycling clubs taking place on 4 days of the week. Also offers beginner and intermediate maintenance, and wheel building courses. In August 2018, it will be its first employability course, teaching maintenance and skills around teamwork and health and safety to young people with learning disabilities or mental health issues. The main space is about to move to the Olympic Velodrome, but the repair shop will stay at Bethnal Green as its first social franchise.

A collaboration between Transition Town Stoke Newington and Hackney Cycling Campaign, Hackney Bike Workshop is a volunteer-run maintenance workshop takes place twice a month at Hackney City Farm. Tools are supplied, but bring your own parts.

London Bike Hub sells recycled bicycles and offers maintenance and cycle training. Donated bikes are also reused in its projects, such as programmes training people with learning disabilities and ex-service personnel to repair bikes.

A not-for-profit social enterprise with an open DIY workshop, which has a full tool library, mechanics on hand to help, and courses to build bike skills. These include Intro to Bike Maintenance, Wheel Building and Build your own Bike. Also holds women & gender-variant nights. Any income subsidises classes and shop time for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, allowing them to gain access to bikes and bicycle education.

MiCycle runs several bicycle shops in London and offers access to its workshops for a yearly membership fee, so that you can “get right to the heart of the trouble” yourself. Also provides maintenance and cycle training courses, open rides and even a coffee shop on site.

A Salvation Army social enterprise, Recycles-Ilford assists previously homeless or unemployed clients, cycling enthusiasts and other volunteers gain bike mechanic skills. Sells low cost refurbished bikes to the public as well as offering bike maintenance and Dr Bike services to local organisations.

Tower Hamlets Wheelers, a local cycling campaign group in the East End of London. Its main objectives are: to encourage more people to cycle; improve conditions for cyclists; and to raise the profile of cycling in the East End. This involves bringing the issues to the attention of the local council and other authorities; holding a bicycle workshop on the third Saturday of every month at Limehouse Town Hall; and running community projects and social rides to bring cyclists in the area together.
 

Transition Heathrow is a grass-roots action group working to build resilient Heathrow communities, capable of collectively coping with the injustices and threats of the economic, ecological and democratic crises. It has a bike space with parts and tools that anyone is welcome to use – and which would be open for maintenance workshops should anyone be keen to facilitate them!

“A cycle centre based in the community, for the community”, the Watford Cycle Hub offers cycle training (including women-only and children’s); maintenance courses; repair services, and work bays with the tools, mechanics and overalls available for you to fix your bike yourself. It also sells recycled bikes.

The Bike Hive is a community bike project run by volunteers. It offers recycled bikes for sale as well as the equipment, resources and help from mechanics to build and repair your bike yourself through its maintenance courses and free tool clubs. Offers repair drop ins and cycling tours just for women too.

Platt Fields Bike Hub is a community group to facilitate all things cycling. It offers 2nd hand bikes, a tool club and even an in-house bike dance troupe!

07866 289859

Recyke y'bike is a community project with shops in Newcastle, Durham and Byker where trained mechanics and volunteers recycle bikes for sale to the public. Supporters of Pioneer People, “We send around 500 bikes a year to development projects in Kenya and The Gambia.” Another 150 bikes are given yearly to schools, community groups and refugees and asylum seekers in Tyneside. Runs basic bike maintenance classes, as well as hiring its workshop space and tools for a small fee and running National Standard Cycle Training.

Norwich Bicycle Repair Co-operative is a workers’ co-operative that specialises in bicycle repairs. It offers a Dr Bike service, funded by UEA, that includes several free drop-in options such as free pump and tools, advice, and minor adjustments and servicing. Other services are subsidised for UEA Staff and Students

The Broken Spoke is a not-for-profit social enterprise that provides open workshop support, mechanics courses and cycle training – as well as ‘Beryl’s Night’, a monthly mechanics session for women and transgender people to use the workshop or socialise. The space is open on four days of the week, uses a tiered pricing structure and provides parts, tools, tea, biscuits and volunteers to help out. It also runs ‘Earn-A-Bike’ courses, for those experiencing financial hardship or social exclusion to repair a bike for their own use.

Changing Gearz, sells recycled bikes that have been refurbished by young volunteers who are not achieving their potential in school or are currently unemployed.

Although Reading Bicycle Kitchen doesn’t have a permanent residence, this community bike project provides pop-up workshops twice a week. Cyclists can access work-stands and tools, along with volunteer mechanics for assistance. Donated bikes are passed on to refugees and asylum seekers. Sells second hand and new parts.

Cycle Mania is a community cycle project that runs maintenance courses in the community or from the local Waunfawr Community Garden, and is led by young people. It runs rides for different levels and refurbishes bikes for hire or donation.

Rochdale Bike Club and Petrus Pedals is a not-for-profit project with mechanics, tools and work-stands to do DIY repairs. Also offers cycling sessions led by instructors.

Scotland’s largest bike recycling organisation, The Bike Station has branches in Edinburgh and Perth (although no longer in Glasgow). They work with everyone from employers, voluntary organisations and youth groups to prisons, schools and nurseries, promoting cycling as a means of sustainable transport. They sell reconditioned bikes at affordable prices, run ‘Fix Your Own Bike’ sessions, bike maintenance training classes, cycling tutorials, and offer full bike servicing. The Dr Bike service, in Dundee as well as Edinburgh and Perth, provides bike mechanics for events.
Edinburgh: 0131 668 1967 or 0131 668 1996 Perth: 01738 444 430 Dundee: 01382 250 960

ReCycle Bikes is a social enterprise selling recycled adults and children’s bicycles and second-hand parts, and donating the profits back into the community. “Three days a week, when you visit our workshop you’ll see that we work with young people who may be struggling in mainstream education, engaging them in bike mechanics to give them skills for the future.” You can book a work stand in their fully-equipped workshops on two days a week for a small fee, when there are mechanics on hand to help you with repairs. One-on-one maintenance classes are also available.

Cycle Service is a traditional bike shop that has recently opened a DIY section for hire in its workshop. Cyclists can opt for Basic DIY, DIY with Assistance, or Full Tuition, priced according to the assistance given.

Southampton Bike Kitchen is a free community workshop providing tools and advice to keep you pedalling. It is run by volunteers and open once a week.

Monty’s Bike Hub is the social enterprise arm of Monty’s Community hub, a charity run through the local church. The bike hub has free weekly DIY workshops and youth workshops – or if you are not so mechanically-minded yourself also runs a Bike Doctor service doing your repairs for free. Other regular sessions include family cycling skills. Sells recycled bikes too.

“We began as a small recycling social enterprise that quickly grew into a job club using the bike recycling as work experience.” It works with local authorities, employment services and schools to create bespoke vocational training programmes, which include everything from employability skills such as interview techniques, to practical maintenance training. It sells ‘reloved’ bikes and offers certified and non-certified bike maintenance classes, as well as trailside repair courses.

The Hub is a “Sustrans' project delivering free information, advice, resources and events to help people in Stockton walk and cycle for more of their everyday journeys.” Learn bike maintenance in a half day or evening courses for free. It also provides a free cycle parking facility in the city.

Re-Cycle is a social enterprise to reduce the widespread waste of bicycles, keep Swansea supplied with reliable and affordable bikes and to provide training in cycle maintenance. Those who volunteer to help repair the bikes receive support and training, and can earn a bike in return.

A Salvation Army Social Enterprise, Recycles sells bikes that have been refurbished by volunteers who have experienced homelessness. It also offers bicycle maintenance courses, including women-only ones, and weekly social rides (featuring a coffee stop and around 23 miles).

On Your Bike is a social enterprise selling reburbished bikes and used parts, as well as offering bicycle maintenance courses. “Our aim is to train and support the socially underprivileged, ex-servicemen and long term unemployed by offering them voluntary work placements and training.”

Jole Rider's Bike Shed is a registered charity selling recycled bikes. Profits go to its bikes4Africa project, donating bicycles to children to ride to school. Its Bike Skills Academy also offers bicycles maintenance and repair courses.

Wolverhampton Bike Shed is a community-based project offering all services for free. That means that you can either use their tools and expertise to fix your bike up yourself, or ask one of the volunteers to do it for you. The only limit is time, as it is only open for a couple of hours each Saturday, and donations are always welcome. It also offers cycle training, community rides and even community bike polo.

Made Good is a small non-profit organisation that provides free info on cycle maintenance. They've got hundreds of high quality videos free for anybody to view on-line.

Company behind the brand

The Halfords Group recently acquired online retailers Tredz and Wheelies, responding to an ongoing consumer trend towards buying bicycles from online retailers as opposed to bricks and mortar shops. It has also formed a long-term partnership with UK charity Re-cycles; collecting and diverting customers’ unwanted bikes from landfill and donating them to people in the UK and in Africa.

In 2017, Halfords faced criticism from cycling groups and employment rights campaigners. It was the target of the Twitter campaign #Boycotthalford after being accused of providing “anti-cyclist ammunition” to mainstream media by stating there was a ‘convincing’ argument for cyclists to carry number plates.

Regarding employment rights, it was criticised for employing young jobseekers without pay under the government-backed ‘workfare’ scheme. Halfords ran a “two-month scheme in partnership with Qube, which involved 25 hours a week working in store and three at a training centre”. Gail Cartmail, a Unite assistant general secretary commented on the scheme: “The fact that well-known brands are operating these schemes to boost their profits is especially alarming. These schemes are a worst-case scenario and fall far short of the assurances Unite was given when these traineeships were introduced.”

 Want to know more?

If you want to find out detailed information about a company and more about its ethical rating, then click on a brand name in the Score table. 

This information is reserved for subscribers only. Don't miss out, become a subscriber today.

Start your 30 day trial today!

Ethics made easy - comprehensive, simple to use, transparent and reliable ethical rankings. Subscribe today for a wealth of data at your fingertips.

We will take payment when you order, but you can cancel by phone or email within 30 days for a full no-questions-asked refund!

Start your 30 day trial today!