Tag Archives: Deptford

Union Cycle Works, Deptford

Considering how many times i’ve been to this place, and how long i’ve known about it, I feel a little ashamed to be only just posting about it, but then again, I am looking into rebranding atomicpinball to something like ‘betterlatethannever.com’ as it seems to be the case with most introductions to most posts. ANYWAY, point is, there’s a bunch of guys, on my doorstep, doing something genuinely brilliant and  innovative and I want to shout about it, from the top of a mountain. Except there aren’t any mountains nearby. There’s Telegraph Hill, which is more of a hill, but that just won’t do. So I guess i’ll have to stick with the internet, so imagine this as my soapbox, perched precariously on top of Telegraph Hill. Fitting, as it was also the site of one of the first Semaphore Telegraph Stations in London, and the internet enables one to shout about whatever we damn well please, to millions of people the world over (so it’s a good soapbox in case you missed the reference)

Anyway. Since hearing of the honeybee network out in India, my younger brothers fascination with the internet of things and the way that consumerism is changing at such a rapid rate; I’ve been unable to avoid being interested in the socially aware businesses that are popping up almost as quickly as the traditional marketplace is falling down. It’s time for change, and these guys have captured the zeitgeist; nail. on. head.

Not only is their business’ product bikes, an inherently green and sustainable mode of transport, they also recycle said bikes, and restore them to their former glory. ‘Loads of people do that!’ I hear you say, and yes, you are right, I am indeed one of them! But loads of people don’t take the time out of their lives to teach disadvantaged people how to do this, so that those disadvantaged people can go on to build better lives for themselves, as well better bikes for other people. But these guys do. And they work in Deptford, which is near my house. So ha.

The project is circular in it’s brilliance, it contributes to solving about a billion (well not quite that many) issues in one fell swoop. They take old, broken bikes, that would otherwise need to be recycled, and breath new life into them, collaborating with disadvantaged people whilst doing so (so that disadvantaged people learn the skills required to do this for themselves) Therefore eradicating the need for a shopper to go into a shop, buy a bike and increase his/her carbon footprint with one that’s been made in China, shipped over here and then bought from a great big warehouse that is killing five polar bears an hour. These bikes are sold through a process of consultation, and personal interaction, something we screenagers are increasingly bereft of. In doing so, they increase social interaction, which subsequently has twofold benefits; the disadvantaged person gets social interaction in a professional context, and the consumer gets some social interaction as well as a pleasant shopping experience, something that he/ she is probabaly lacking in (on the assumption that he/she is a London-based commuter) And as if that wasn’t enough, for the price of an ‘off the peg’ cycle, you get a lovingly restored one, which teaches the customer the value of beautiful, quality products with a story.

At this point I wish I was a graphic designer, so I could make a circular diagram to show you this, but you’re a creative enough bunch, i’m sure you can figure it out. Anyway, enough eulogising; you should go there, and buy a bike there, and help make the world a better place whilst doing it.

Union Cycle Works , Deptford Project, 121-123 Deptford High Street, SE8 4NS,

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