Recycle that bicycle!

August 5, 2019

Thanks to a strong town-gown relationship, abandoned bikes are being repurposed and some local kids and adults are discovering the joy of cycling. In 2017, Yale Facilities Services teamed up with the Bradley Street Bicycle Co-op to start a bike reclaiming program. Facilities staff tag abandoned bikes found on campus with a note alerting the owner that the bike will be removed and donated if not Bradley Street Co-opreclaimed. After a few days, if the bike is still unclaimed, the Co-op staff picks up and transports the bike back to their shop to be evaluated for repair and reuse. Once at the shop, there is a two-week holding period - in case an owner comes looking for it.

In three years, a total of 282 bikes have been recycled through this program. No matter how old or beat up, no bike, or its parts, are wasted – some are sold, others donated, and the rest scrapped for parts.

Of those donated, seven went to Connecticut Mental Health Center, five to Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS), four to Bikes for Kids, and the rest to individuals that the Co-op serves in the New Haven community. Money generated from bikes sold directly supports fixing bikes, buying parts, funding repair clinics, and operating costs.

The Bradley Street Bicycle Co-op is a community bike shop working towards an equitable New Haven by getting people on bikes. Through their bicycle recycling program, people donate bikes from their basements, from organizations like Yale, and from other local bike shops. Volunteers and mechanics at the Co-op repair all the bikes and get them ready for donation or sale. The Co-op works with partner organizations to directly identify those who want, but cannot afford, a bike and get them on one!

“I’m proud of the strong partnership we’ve developed with the Co-op. I’m especially happy to see all those abandoned bikes reused,” said Jeff Hughes, area manager Facilities Services.

Yale is committed to building a more sustainable world. By doing what we do best—integrating science, the humanities, and our community—Yale creates, tests, and adopts innovative solutions to the environmental and social challenges we all face.