So, we had the idea for the kitchen and people on board: the next step was working out where to get the pieces to put the mobile kitchen together.
After scouring gumtree, ebay and every skip that we passed on the street, we happened upon a man named Mike offering parts from an old Christiania bike that he’d saved from going to landfill. Christiania bikes have been around since the 1970s, and are named after the Freetown Christiania district of Copenhagen where cars remain banned to this day.
A blacker, shorter version of our bike (ours also lacks slightly cheesy Europop background music)
Known for being able to carry a small family in the large box at the front (provided they’re relatively docile), they’re sturdy, reliable and can take plenty of weight – in short, ideal for a mobile kitchen.
Even better, we were saving the parts from going to waste – appropriate, really. However, it was still a bit of a shot in the dark. From the slightly fuzzy pictures on gumtree, we had no idea whether they’d be salvageable. And they were on the other side of the country in darkest Gloucestershire, so there was no way of knowing in advance.
Mike kindly reduced the price to £20 because he liked the idea, and we decided to take the plunge. After a convoluted delivery process, with a bit of help from AnyVan – the parts finally arrived in the Remakery’s workshop. The Remakery is a Brixton-based co-working space for local re-use businesses that’s being built by volunteer labour, and will provide workspace, business development support and other such things when it’s fully open in autumn.
They’ve been really helpful in getting our idea off the ground, and will be providing us with workshop space, tools and support. They also have a great supply of scrap materials that have been donated to them, some of which we may be able to use as we make the kitchen.
To our delight, things were even better than we’d hoped. Though it needed a lick of paint and a few out-of-date political stickers removing (I suspect that the Impeach Bush campaign may no longer be a going concern), the parts were in fine fettle. The bike just needed a few parts to get it back in full working order.
Still, none of us are bike mechanics, and we needed a bit more expert help. This arrived in the form of Roman Magula from London Green Cycles, London’s specialists in cargo bikes, family bikes and everything in between. Roman worked for renowned London bike shop Velorution for many years before setting up London Green Cycles to use his cargo bike expertise to the full.
A food stall bike built by London Green Cycles
A Brixton resident himself, Roman will be helping us source parts and repair the bike in the next two weeks. London Green Cycles have some of the best knowledge about a project like this in the country, and we’re really excited to be working with them.
We’ll be holding workshops to make the bike in the Remakery from 23 April to 27 April. Would you like to join us? We can use all kinds of help, from painting and odd jobs to anything else that you can think of. Email Tom on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more.