Cycle to Work Day
Cycle to Work Day is every day at Harrogate Fair Trade Shop! I’ve cycled to work for years, lucky enough to have a short journey but determined enough to do it in all weathers. Part of my cycle to work involves a short ride alongside the railway line, a quiet path that takes me under the busy main road. Sometimes when I’ve had a long day, that little whizz home along a leafy green tunnel does my spirits and my body a great deal of good. If you can find a quiet route, the pleasure of fitting in some exercise every day as you cycle to work is immense.
Our shop has a great location but very little storage space, so all unpacking and pricing is done in our office and storeroom half a mile away. I transport stock to the shop regularly, and that’s done on the back of my bike for the most part. Roomy panniers are essential, and a bike trailer comes in handy for bigger loads. And the best thing? I can park right outside the shop, for free and for as long as I like.
The people who make the products we sell in our shop are at the sharp end of climate change, seeing their crops fail, their homes destroyed by flooding, their water sources drying up. Climate change will not happen sometime in the future, it’s happening right now, and we need to make big changes in our lives to stop it from getting much worse. Leaving the car at home and cycling to work or even cycling part of the way and then taking the bus or train is one of those things. If you don’t feel safe on a bike, see if someone will ride with you. Tell the council you want more separated cycleways. Cycling is definitely part of the solution, especially short, regular trips such as the daily journey to work.
We love bikes so much we’ve built a whole collection around them. Bamboo socks, cards, recycled wire jewellery and even our very own organic cotton tote bag. Everything is fair trade which means much more than simply paying fair wages; it means supporting people so they can live lives of opportunity and dignity. We’ve chosen our range to be as sustainable as possible - many of our bike products are recycled, and some of them are even made out of bike parts.
Take our Cycle of Good range, which includes washbags, purses and wallets made entirely from recycled inner tubes in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world. The project provides tailoring and bike mechanics training, and many people have gone on from here to set up their own micro-businesses. The buildings are made from mud ‘eco-bricks, and solar panels provide the electricity, making them super low impact products. The company has set up a bike purchase scheme, meaning workers can set aside some of their earnings to buy their own bikes. Across Africa, the workhorse bike is a hugely important part of life for carrying people and produce where other forms of transport are scarce or too expensive. In Malawi, the cycle to work is a source of pride, especially when you’ve had a hand in building your own bike and often saves miles of walking on dirt roads.