New bike cafe and workshop in Bristol – crowd funding content
I think the decision on premises is going to be made after the funding position becomes a bit clearer. i.e. the more money they get, the more choice they’ll have and the more central and visible it can be.
There’s a bit more discussion on RFTS’s FB page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Roll-for-the-Soul-Bristols-community-bike-cafe/352345428181097Posted 5 years ago
A mate is getting ready to open a new bike workshop and cafe in Bristol. It’ll be run as a non-profit cooperative with social aims, like free bike maintenance for people on low incomes, but the idea is also to create somewhere where riders can meet up, hang out and enjoy great food and coffee.
It’s already been trialled during this year’s Cycle Festival (at the bottom of Park Street) and it was a big hit. The cafe out the front did good food, a nice cup of tea and it was pretty much guaranteed that you’d bump into some mates or get chatting to some friendly types.
The back room was a hive of activity with people bringing in their hack bikes for free tune-ups and cheap maintenance – over 100 done that week I believe.
The next stage is to give it a permanent home, which is going to need some start-up funding. So he’s putting it out to crowd funding, with rewards like t-shirts, discount cards and more depending on how much you pledge.
The aim is to raise £12,000.00 over the next 45 days (more if possible) and people have already pledged over £1,000.00.
If it doesn’t hit that target, your money gets refunded. If it exceeds its target, it’ll help reduce the initial borrowing. There are more links on the crowd funding page included a full business plan.
Bristol already has nice cafes and socially-minded bike maintenance projects, but nothing that really combines the two into somewhere you can just drop into. Basically Bristol is crying out for something like this (I say as much in the video above) so it would be great if we could all get behind this and help to make it a reality.Posted 5 years ago
Well even if it ends up being tucked down a side street there will still be plenty of demand for it
Agreed – to a point. If it’s in a visible location, then there will be more ‘general’ footfall to the cafe from the wider pulic with cash in their pocket (if it was in The Centre, say), which will help subsidise the rest of the work it does and bring in people from outside of the usual pool of people who will know about it. If it’s tucked too far away from the madding crowd, you are relying on it being sought out and used by (predominately) cyclists. This isn’t in itself a bad thing, but is kind of missing a trick for ‘mass communication’/inclusion and (I imagine – just thinking out loud) will make it harder to sustain footfall in the long term.
I know all of the above is obvious stuff, which they are clearly thinking of, and that has to be accomidated within whatever budget can be raised…. and I still think it’s a cracking idea!Posted 5 years ago
I’d happily invest some money but was put of by the quoted £64,000 needed for capital investment. Care to explain how this has been accounted for – it seems quite high.
All the figures are set out in a summary business plan here:Posted 5 years ago
Expenditure is broken down as:
Item type Cost ex. VAT
Cost inc. VAT
Kitchen and café equipment and stock 17,055
Workshop equipment and stock 6,870
Retail equipment and stock 1,963
General (including fitting out) 27,270
With investment as:
1. A £4,000 grant from the School for Social Entrepreneurs (submitted).
2. £40,000 from Bristol City Council’s Active Neighbourhoods Transport Grants scheme (submitted).
3. Crowd funding during autumn 2012, through which we hope to raise £12,000 by offering rewards in return for donations.
4. £24,000 from Roll for the Soul team members’ personal savings. This will be provided in long-term loans at equivalent high-street rates.
5. A short-term loan of £10,000 from an individual supporter to cover reclaimable VAT on asset purchases.
6. If there is a shortfall after avenues 1 to 5 have been exhausted, we will approach ethical finance institutions for loans. We’re also staying alert to other grant funding opportunities.
I know that the £40,000.00 from the LSTF could be spent on measures like training, promotion or building 1 km of new cycle path, but this has the potential to be self-sustaining after the first year and given that the profits are going to be redistributed to other community enterprises it seems like a great use of the money.
Cycling City showed that you can increase cycling by chucking cash around, but the project has now finished and in some respects (particularly if you don’t use the new infrastructure) it seems like it might never have existed. Something like this has a bit more longevity built in.Posted 5 years ago
Suggestion: instead of cafe furniture install turbo trainer rollers in the floor. Customer brings bike into cafe, sets up on a turbo trainer, someone takes his or her order which is supplied on a tray which clips to the bike’s handlebars.
Thus the cafe is only for cyclists and the operators can claim to be the only* cycling cafe – rather than making spurious claims to being the only place one can eat cake whilst getting a puncture repaired.
* I’m going to assume nobody else has done this rather than actually checking.Posted 5 years ago
Cheers for the tip Farmer John, I’ll suggest it to Rob.
Wrecker, powering the lights, maybe. Boiling a kettle, probably not, unless you’re a pro. http://road.cc/content/news/66175-bradley-wiggins-could-save-%C2%A311-year-running-his-washing-machine-pedal-powerPosted 5 years agoalmightydutchMember
If its not for profit, how can it work. Surely every business has to be financially viable.
Do the low income peeps have to prove this? how?
Who pays for the low income families work to be done
Are the staff working for free? If not who pays them?
Are the parts being used free? If not who pays?
I sort of understand the concept but when the money dries up from initial funding, where is the shortfall going to come from?
It states that £24k has come from Roll for the Soul team members and will be paid back at high street loan cost? Would this not be going against the ‘not for profit’ side of the business?
The idea of a ‘hub’ for cycling is great but I have my doubts on the sustainability of the project.Posted 5 years agohungry monkeyMember
the term ‘not for profit’ generally means that things are done at cost, and that any profits that are made are recycled into the business to improve it (better facilities etc).
it doesn’t mean its a charity, and it doesn’t (necessarily) mean its staffed by volunteers.
I’m not involved in the project, so I won’t try and answer your questions.Posted 5 years ago
It’s a Community Interest Company (their application has just been approved), so any profits made have to be used in accordance with the aims of the company, which have to be socially responsible.
So they can still pay staff salaries, buy assets, etc, as long as that furthers the aims of the company. Any company property is subject to an “asset lock” and can only be disposed of in accordance with company policy.
The profit side of the business will be fulfilled by the cafe, the socially responsible bit will be the workshop.
I think it’s a bit much to expect details of how exactly they’re going to run everything at this stage, but Rob the main man is a down-to-earth sort of chap and I’ve got no doubt he’s going to keep it accessible while not letting people take the mickey.Posted 5 years agoalmightydutchMember
I have too many questions about the financial aspect to post up here but cut to the chase:
Cafe’s struggle to turn a profit as it is, to have the added responsibility of covering costs of the workshop would be an even bigger burden especially if the target demographic is the low income familes…..ern who’s gonna buy the tea and cake if they cant afford to fix a bike?
I see this as a one mans venture to have his own bike shop paid for by funds from various places. The cafe is a nice ‘niche’ idea to add to his shop.
Good luck but I am sceptical on how sustainable this project would be.
Oh and finally, if all staff are being paid £7.20 an hour…does that include the owner?Posted 5 years ago
Cafe’s struggle to turn a profit as it is
Depends on how well they know their market and what else they have going on. Cafe Kino, the Bristol place that caters to the arty vegan crowd, is going from strength to strength and recently moved to much larger premises. They don’t just sell coffee and food but they also have gigs, life drawing classes and other things that bring in business when your more traditional establishments are closed. Bristol’s bike scene needs an equivalent and although I have no beef with Mud Dock, their cafe isn’t it.
The customers for the cafe are going to be drawn from a wider demographic than the people who take their bikes there for work. What do you do when your bike goes in for a service, sit there until they fix it? That isn’t their business model at all.
I see this as a one mans venture to have his own bike shop paid for by funds from various places.
Great how you can always rely on STW for a balanced, uncynical view of things. 😉 It’s not going to be a bike shop in the traditional sense – Bristol has plenty of them already. At least to start with, the retail side of things is mainly going to be a shop-front for the local bike recycling project, selling reconditioned town bikes for peanuts. They won’t be duking it out with Evans and CRC.
finally, if all staff are being paid £7.20 an hour…does that include the owner?
I doubt Rob’s going to be drawing a salary at all to start with, but if he is, good luck to him. He’s jacked in a comfortable job with a transport charity to start this, spent the last few months volunteering at the bike recycling project and working in a cafe, and given that they’ve already hit over £2,000.00 in pledges, it seems quite a few people believe in what he’s doing.Posted 5 years agowallopSubscriber
Rich southerners getting more facilities they dont even need.Show some guts and imagination.Why not open up in Liverpool or Sunderland.Rich Bristolians hardly need any more help on the cycling front.
Why would a guy from Bristol open up a cafe in Liverpool or Sunderland?Posted 5 years agogeoffjSubscriber
Watching the video and reading (ok scanning) the business plan, I can’t help come away with the feeling that the target market for this is established cycling groups. Whilst this isn’t in itself a bad thing, should this demographic really be on the receiving end of local authority funding? The video ends with the comment about buying an espresso machine to make really great coffee – that feels a little out of kilter with Bristol has at least three council wards which are among the 10% most deprived in England.
I’m sure it has the potential to be a great facility for Bristol’s cyclists, but unless it changes its strategy to reflect more investment / work with groups which need help, then it runs the risk of ending up as the coolest bike shop/cafe in a city which is already pretty well served with facilities for those groups.
I’m sure mud dock will be twirling with joy at the thought of publicly funded competition.Posted 5 years ago
As I’ve said above, the aim is for the cafe side of the business to appeal to a wider customer base than people who want cheap bike maintenance. Is it “selling out” if they offer something that isn’t Nescafe and tea from an urn?
I don’t think there is a focal point for Bristol cycling at the moment. Mud Dock is great, but it’s not a “bike cafe” – it’s a fairly upmarket restaurant above a bike shop, and much of their business comes after the shop is closed. I doubt Jerry or anyone who works there will regard RFTS as competition, or think that their funding gives them an unfair leg-up. After all, Mud Dock’s new bike park extension was 50% publicly funded.
The cost of getting a bike serviced in a normal shop is between £30 and £70 and for a lot of people that’s a barrier to cycling. People who can barely afford £4.50 a day on bus fares, or who are paying off their car insurance monthly, aren’t going to find this money down the back fo the sofa. The aim isn’t to compete with existing bike shops, but to offer services to people who wouldn’t otherwise use them.
The project is in many ways an extension of the work started by Bristol Bike Project, and if you’ve got time, I’d recommend watching this documentary. It’s worth remembering that for some people bikes aren’t just a diversion, they’re a real means of improving their quality of life:
[video]http://vimeo.com/9469007[/video]Posted 5 years agogeoffjSubscriber
That’s great. The problem is that your comments (for me) don’t tally with the information in the trailer video or the business plan.
1. The vision
Roll for the Soul’s vision is to become the focal point for cycling in Bristol, celebrating and supporting the city’s unique cycling culture. It will be inclusive, community-focused and welcoming. It will provide quality food and drink; cycle-related events; sales, repairs and servicing; workshop space; and will advocate for cycling. It’s a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (8205951) limited by guarantee. It will use surplus revenue to support and promote cycling in Bristol, in partnership with other social enterprises.
2. The social aims
Roll for the Soul has five core social aims.
1. To provide a focal point for Bristol’s cycling community. It will be a place that the city’s cyclists can call their own, where they can meet, have fun and enjoy the best of Bristol’s cycling culture.
2. To enable Bristol’s cycling community to be more effective through better advocacy and communication with the City Council and other bodies.
3. To engage new audiences in cycling by showcasing it as fun, affordable, healthy and sustainable.
4. To financially support other Bristol cycling social enterprises with surplus revenue, getting more people cycling more often and with more confidence.
5. To create employment opportunities for those most in need of help to achieve social and financial inclusion, particularly former service users at The Bristol Bike Project who have gone on to develop mechanic skills as volunteers.
3. The context
There’s a cycling renaissance in the UK, happening for lots of reasons.
Britain is achieving unprecedented success in professional cycling and the sport’s never had such a high profile. It’s the new rock ‘n’ roll.
Sedentary lifestyles have led to rising obesity and serious illness. Physical inactivity is linked to 22% of coronary heart disease cases, 16% of colon cancer cases, 15% of diabetes cases, 12% of strokes and 11% of breast cancer cases. Active travel can reduce these risks considerably.
The climate is changing. It’s important that we move from fossil-fuelled travel to cleaner, more environmentally-friendly modes, especially as fossil fuels are being consumed at a greater rate than they’re replenished.
Fuel costs are rising. Cycling provides a cheap alternative to car travel.
Against this social, environmental and economic background, cyclists give many more personal reasons for riding their bikes. “Because I enjoy seeing all the things around me.” “I get a direct connection to my environment.” “Urban biking pace reveals a city that many urban dwellers hadn’t taken notice of.” “Because there’s nothing like suffering on the bike to make you appreciate a shower, clean clothes, and a plate of food.”
IMHO there needs to be a more explicit link between the space the in the city coffee shop / cool fashionista hang out and the profits from that helping to support jobs with living wages and affordable servicing / outreach activities. Having the deputy leader of the city council promoting it as a great place for fixie riders to hang out, is perhaps a little off focus?
Anyway, I’m sure it will be a great resource and I’m just little but jealous that we don’t have anything similar where I live 😉
Good luck to all involved.Posted 5 years ago
I appreciate the promo video soft-pedals (ha!) the worthy side of things, but the business plan does go into quite a bit of detail about how it’s going to plough back the profits into stuff like Bristol Bike Project, do free bike tune-ups, offer workshop access, and other socially responsible stuff. There’s always a danger with these types of project of coming across as ball-achingly earnest and just not fun. Which is probably what my posts on here are doing, but hey ho.Posted 5 years ago
Which begs the question of the best tyres for Eastern European lake-bottoms.
Good luck to everyone involved in the project. My unsolicited opinion would be that Bristol has lots of bike shops and lots of coffee shops, so they maybe need something extra to boost the idea in peoples’ awareness. That said, I’ll definitely check the place out for cycle specific cake and coffee.Posted 5 years agomonkeycmonkeydoMember
Mr A,what you and your Rasta hairdo fixie Bristol chums fail to realise is that you have pockets of poverty in an overcoat of wealth.We on the other hand experience the exact opposite. You pampered southerners need to get your heads out the sand and face the results of your i,m alright Jack voting behaviour. The hash heads of Brizzel do not need more cycling support.The North DOES.Posted 5 years ago
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