BFR Full Details

What we do

Bikes for Refugees SA Incorporated (ABN 20 663 461 735) is a volunteer, not for profit, charity bike recycling scheme.

We supply  bikes free of charge, to people in need.  Our focus is refugees and asylum seekers, but we also help others in need, e.g disability, low income, Aboriginal, homeless etc.

Adelaide Community Bicycle Workshop, is the workshop we run, where we work on bikes.  The workshop is open to the public, to visit, buy secondhand bikes and parts, or for simple repairs. As it’s a community bike workshop, we’re also open to the public to use. Cyclists can borrow tools and stands and get friendly help and information, and  service their own bikes here.

2016 is our 14th year. The scheme started in 2003 , recycling bikes in a back yard. We now handle 600  bikes a year.

In 2014 Bikes for Refugees registered as a charity, and obtained a fund raising licence (CCP2132) . The scheme is regulated by the Commonwealth  Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and at State level, by the SA Office of Consumer and Business Services,  These websites have more information about our organisation, and reports.

Donate a bike  to us

We welcome donations of  good quality bikes, accessories, and parts. Bikes must be in  good condition, so we can get them going again quickly. Donations can be delivered to the workshop during office hours and Saturdays 9-2

Location: The Joinery, 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide 5000.


Sale of second-hand bicycles and bike parts

To fund the scheme, we sell good quality  bikes, parts, and accessories to the public.   The bikes have been serviced and checked, and come with  a statutory warranty.  Visit us, or check Gumtree.


To arrange a bicycle for someone in need

In brief, we need a referral, then make an appointment.

We accept referrals from a wide range of people e.g  carers, welfare organisations, teachers, case workers, volunteers, community members .

Referring someone is  easy and informal. Just contact us by phone, email or SMS, and we’ll take it from there.

See end of page for contact details.


– More information here 

Mike Brisco (co-ordinator),, 0435 02 16 81


Detailed contents

How “Bikes for Refugees SA Inc” started

As of 31 Dec 2015, the scheme had handled over 4,000 bikes in total. We currently handle around 600 bikes a year. Numbers of bikes has increased annually, since the scheme started

In 2002, the sister of a Bicycle Institute member met some African people speaking French, which she also spoke. They were from Congo, and expressed interest in cycling here, as they didn’t have cars.

Bicycle Institute members responded with 18 bikes: 4 for the Congolese people; 14 to the Australian Refugee Association (ARA) to help others. The scheme continued for a number of years, supplying bikes to other welfare organisations to give out.

2003-2010: The scheme ran from the back yard of a suburban home, with sometimes over 100 bikes being worked on at the house.

2011-2014 In 2011, Ianto Ware, Jeremy Miller and others of the Bicycle Institute of S Australia, set up Adelaide Community Bicycle Workshop, with a grant from State Govt Dept of Premier & Cabinet. West Torrens Council offered use of a room at Hayhurst Community Centre, Long Street Plympton. The Workshop was a shared community resource, where many Adelaide cyclists and bike clubs, could use, to work on bikes. Bikes for Refugees used it to work on its own bikes, and also managed day to day running of the workshop.  The workshop was mainly open Saturday mornings.

2013-4 – incorporatioin and formalization of arrangements – The scheme had grown to the size where it was no longer appropriate to run informally, and where its scale justified the effort and time involved in formalizing arrangements. The scheme adopted a constitution and registered as an incorporated association, not for profit, and with strictly charitable aims in line with legislation. It  registered business names, and acquired an ABN. It formally took on responsibility for running of Adelaide Community Bicycle Workshop. It also registered with State and Federal government as a charity, and obtained a licence to obtain funds for charitable purposes.

2015 to present. In Feb 2015 the workshop moved to become part of the Conservation Council of SA’s “Joinery” precinct, in the old bus depot, Franklin Street, Adelaide. The joinery is shared space used by several community organisations and small businesses, with a common focus on sustainability. The Workshop consists of 2 shipping containers plus work space, sited in an attractive community garden run by Common Ground. Opening  hours are Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays. The scheme currently handles around 12 bikes a week, or 600 bikes a year, most of which are put back into use.

How bikes can assist people in need.

Adelaide is designed around car ownership. If  you don’t own a car,  it is difficult  to meet daily needs. And most services are designed, assuming you can drive there. Your  house may be 2 or 3 km from the nearest school, or shops. Public transport may be infrequent or non-existent. As many people may know, if you don’t have a car or dont drive, getting around Adelaide can be quite challenging.

Refugees settling in Adelaide often need several months to get a driving licence and a car. In the meantime they depend on walking, lifts, or public transport.

To help meet their transport needs,  we supply reliable secondhand bikes free of charge, plus at-cost accessories. The bikes are suitable for short local journeys on road, e.g to shops, public transport, English lessons,  library,  friends. Children and teenagers can use the bikes for recreation, exercise, or to get to school. People can use the bikes to get around – travel to work or  college – get to the railway station – go shopping. Bicycling is also good exercise, helping maintain health. It  saves people money, compared to  public transport, or driving.

People also enjoy bikes for other reasons.

Cycling is exercise, and like any physical activity, can help improve mental and physical health. getting exercise this way, fits in with daily life – you dont need to pay extra for gym membership, or find extra time.

Many people take pleasure in owning a bike, maintaining it and up grading it.

Cycling is recreation – it gets you out and about, in contact with your community, away from the house. Adelaide has a good network of off road bike paths, which many people use for recreation and leisure. e.g the River Torrens path; the Coastal path, from Outer Harbour to Marion Rocks.

Children enjoy riding their bikes, and playing together, with their neighbours.  They can also ride their bikes to school



How Bikes for Refugees is resourced and funded.

Bikes for Refugees aims to be self-funding. It does not receive grants or funding from State or Federal government.

Bikes for Refugees depends on volunteer who donate their time free of charge, to check and service bikes. We depend on  donations of parts and bikes from the public.

Income comes mainly from sale of surplus  bikes or parts donated – those that that are surplus to what’s required to meet our charitable aims.

These funds are used to operate the project, and any surplus is distributed to help refugees and asylum seekers, in accord with our charitable aims.

We have support in the form of provision of low-cost workspace, currently from Conservation Council of S Australia, and before that from West Torrens Council.

Our annual report contains an audited financial statement. Information on our finances is also reported annually to the SA Govt Office of Business and Consumer Services, and Australian Charities & Not-for-Profits Commission, and can be obtained from their websites.



Donate a bike to us (Dec 2015)

We rely on the public to donate bikes and parts, to keep the scheme going.  Provided the bike is sound, and basically OK, we can usually get it going again, or use it for parts.

Most bikes that people offer us, turn out to be usable. However, if you’re not sure whether/not a bike would be of use –  check below, or contact us.

what we accept

We welcome almost all bikes that are sound, in OK condition, that we can get going again quickly, and that someone will want to ride once they’re fixed.

  • A little wear & tear; a little surface rust; flat tyres; are ok. Most bikes we’re offered have these, we can fix them easily. (however if the bike has large areas covered in rust, e.g was stored outdoors, not much use to us – see below)
  • If a bike’s been stored indoors or under cover, it’ll usually be OK.
  • Most models, makes and styles, are ok.
  • We accept bikes for toddlers, children, teenagers and adults.
  • ‘Budget brand bikes’  – e.g Huffy, Cyclops, Dunlop, Kent, Southern Star, Northern Star,  –  we only accept if unridden, or as-new.
  • we take bikes of any age. Our clients prefer modern bikes, as they like to ride what they see other people riding. But  older bikes are also useful – we can sell them to raise funds.
  • BMX bikes and dragsters – we accept in any condition. These have a large following of enthusiastis who enjoy restoring them, and we can sell them to raise funds.

what we don’t accept:

For most types of bike, we can’t accept…..

  • Bikes with heavy rusting,  in some parts or all parts –  e.g kept outside, rained on.
  • worn-out bikes, and badly damaged bikes
  • bikes with many parts missing or unserviceable.


Our volunteers have a limited  time, to spend on a bike, to get it going again. Treating rust is time consuming, expensive. Generally you need to dismantle the bike and have it repainted.  Time is also the issue for worn out bikes, and bikes needing extensive repairs, to restore them to usable condition.

 Other stuff you can donate to us (Dec 2015)

  • bike helmets
  • locks, lights, racks, etc
  • spare parts  General purpose parts in good condition, help us get other bikes going.  High-end parts  e.g Campagnolo, Shimano 105, Mavic,  – and pre 1970s parts –  can be  sold to raise funds.
  • damaged bikes (for salvaging parts).
  • tools
  • bike clothing

We also accept cash donations –  though,  please note,  you cannot  claim a tax deduction –  ATO has not granted us DRG status at this time.


How the bike recycling scheme operates

All bikes received, get an individual number, to track them through the scheme.  Most bikes capable of being recycled will be recycled – they get a clean, a check & service and road test before being handed on or sold to raise funds. Bikes not worth our while attempting to put back into use, are dismantled for usable parts. These are e.g  very rusty, worn out, not able to be repaired satisfactorily even with substantial time and effort.

The bikes are cleaned, checked systematically, serviced,  adjusted and repaired where needed. In general this is all that’s required. We do not have time or resources to strip/clean/rebuild bikes before handing them on.  Bikes are then  test-ridden, and marked as OK to hand on.  People in need can get an appointment to visit the workshop to pick a bike out; or can have a bike delivered to their care organisation.

Bikes  surplus to requirements, are  offered for sale to the general public, for fund-raising. These are generally high-value bikes, where selling one bike, provides funds to repair several other bikes. Or older / unusual bikes, of interest mainly to cycling enthusiasts and collectors. These funds keep the workshop running, buy parts, pay expenses etc. Any  surplus funds  must be  used to support other organisations which  help  refugees and asylum seekers  –  in accord with our charitable aims and constitution.

In the 2014-15 financial year, we sourced 497 bikes. We returned 438 to active use, and used  59 for parts. Of the 438, 398 were given to people in need, and 40 sold to raise funds.

Further details in the 2015 annual report.

How you can support us

  • Buy a bike from us    We offer a range of secondhand bikes at good prices, often well known brands, fully serviced and checked, and with a warranty.  Search on Gumtree for  “Bikes for Refugees” ;  or drop by the Bike Workshop on Franklin Street.
  • Buy bike parts  We stock  offers  a large range of recycled secondhand parts, from new bikes and old bikes,  for repairs or restorations eg wheels, handlebars, pedals, brake levers, etc
  • Donate money. We welcome this – please note though, as we don’t have DRG status from the ATO, donations are not tax deductible.

Become a member of Bikes for Refugees

Anyone can be come a member of Bikes for Refugees. It is a way of showing that you support our aims, and enables you to help us achieve those aims

Bikes for Refugees is a community organisation, of people interested in helping us achieve our aims. Members  have opportunity to be kept informed of what Bikes for Refugees is doing; they assist in supporting refugees and asylum seekers in our community;  they contribute ideas and suggestions, and can have a say in decision making if they wish.  They are entitled to a copy of the Annual Report, and can make full use of facilities at Adelaide Community Bicycle Workshop.

Annual membership costs $2, and runs from 1 July.

Application form available on request.


Partnering with Bikes for Refugees

Bikes for Refugees has partnered with a number of outside organisations, to contribute bikes and bike parts,  bike repair skills,  expertise and support, for a range of community programs, festivals, and events.

Organisations have included local councils; Australian  Refugee Association; Anglicare; Thebarton Senior College; Errington Special Needs school

We are happy to consider other partnerships for your future events and projects, including grant applications. Please contact us.


Volunteering with Bikes for Refugees

We always welcome new volunteers. Work involves  a range of jobs besides mechanical repair, e.g managing donations, clerical, internet, cleaning and detailing, helping people select bikes, assisting the public, providing cycling information,  fund-raising etc. Please contact us if interested.

Volunteers contribute greatly to the success of the scheme. They get to work with other people who are interested in bicycles; gain wide experience in mechanical work on bikes and bike restoration, including challenging tasks, and repairs using specialized equipment and tools;  have access to the workshop’s stocks of parts, tools and resources; tea room with free tea & coffee, plus a social bbq every 1-2 months. We will assist you to count your volunteering towards ‘work for the dole’ requirements if needed, and we can supply references for job applications.  Our work site in Adelaide CBD, is readily accessible by public transport, and close to  Central Market and other City Centre facilities.


Other Adelaide organizations, helping refugees and asylum seekers


The Australian Refugee Association accepts donations of household goods, in good condition, e.g. furniture, soft furnishings, toys, etc., to give out, as part of their Settlement program.

If you are able to help refugees gain driving experience, by volunteering your time and your car – they would also like to hear from you.  Please contact the ARA directly to discuss (telephone 8354 2951) or see their website.

Welcome to Australia can also pass on donations of goods.


Other Adelaide  organisations that re-cycle  bicycles

Bike SA: peak body for recreational cycling – runs its own recycling schemes e.g to supply BMX and mountain bikes to the APY lands – also has information on other organisations.

Bicycles for Humanity: local branch of this international organisation, collecting bicycles for overseas aid. They have already shipped one container load of bikes, to Namibia, in partnership with a local organisation there, to supply bikes to a local community and set up a bike shop. They are currently (Dec 2015) organising a second container, and expect to be collecting more bikes in 2016.

BikeKitchen: a community bike workshop in Bowden, where people can meet to rebuild old bikes, share a meal, have a good time.

TADSA: Technical Aid to the Disabled – provide one-off solutions to needs of disabled people, including adapting bikes.

Mens Sheds: in various locations around South Australia, places for older men to meet,  keep up  skills, and contribute to the community. Many accept bikes for recycling, the best known being perhaps Blackwood. Use Google to see if there is one near you.

The contribution our volunteers make

Our thanks to all who donated bikes; volunteers who restore, check, and repair bikes.

Bikes for Refugees depends entirely on volunteers, to staff the workshop,  operate the recycling scheme, assist the public with repairs, and raise funds.

In 2014-15, our volunteers donated  1675 hours of unpaid time (approx 0.8 x FTE, or equivalent of 1 person for 4 days every week). They assisted around 600-700 people with repairs; information; and free bikes.

The benefit they provided to the SA community, is valued, in financial terms, at $32,055

Special thanks also to Kevin Clarke at Clarke’s Cycles, 354 Magill Road, Kensington Park (tel. 8332 3083), for long term support, until his retirement in Dec 2015.
Photos show volunteers, visitors, friends, and others, with bikes donated to the Workshop. Photo credits: Sandor Horvath, Sam Powrie, Anon.

Contact us

Mike Brisco,  co-ordinator

The Joinery, 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide

tel 0435 021 681

Workshop Opening Hours

volunteer  in attendance to assist with repairs, use of equipment, sale of parts/bikes, information etc:

  • Saturdays 9. am to 2 pm
  • Mondays 11am to 6 pm
  • Tuesday-Thursday … usually open  11 am – 6 pm,  depending on  volunteer availability.

hot weather policy  (max of 36 C or more forecast) workshop may close early, or may not open.

Donations of bikes and parts – these can be dropped off whenever the site is open – weekdays 9 am to 6 pm, Saturday 9 am to 2 pm

Further information –  SMS Mike Brisco, 0435 021 681 or  see our Facebook page.

Further Information available for download

Forms & Information Sheets

Information sheet for organistions or individuals wanting bikes

Bicycle safety information sheet (in Farsi) -suitable for people from Iran & Afghanistan

Annual Reports & Activity Summaries

Note: Formal reporting dates from 2014, when the organisation registered as a charity, and became subject to statutory requirements. Before that, we compiled regular reports and summaries for our own use – some are posted here.

2015 annual report

2014 report

2013 report

2011 report

Report on 2009 Bikes for the Outback Scheme

2009 Annual Report, on Bikes for Refugees

Background documents

Safety check list – Procedure for checking bikes, (2011)

Notes on how the scheme is organised (2009)

Notes on how we recycle old bikes (2005)

Roadworthiness documentation – example

Last up dated 27 December 2015.