Bikes for Refugees

Bikes for Refugees SA Incorporated (ABN 20 663 461 735) is a bike recycling scheme, under the supervision of BISA, supplying bikes free of charge, to people in need. The scheme is in its 13th year, and has handled over 3,500 bikes.

The scheme is a registered charity with the Australian Charities & Not-for-Profits Commission. It also holds a Licence for Collections for Charitable Purposes in SA (Lic No CCP2132).

Location: The Joinery, 111 Franklin St, Adelaide (see map on this page)

Open Saturdays 9-3, and Tues – Fri from 11am – 5pm  contact Mike, or see Facebook.

We focus on needs of Adelaide’s refugees and asylum seekers. We also help others in need from time to time. We aim to help people in a friendly way, and without discrimination.

Bikes are supplied on the basis of a referral, usually from a recognised welfare organisation. All bikes are checked and serviced. They are mostly well known brands, suitable for short journeys on the road.

BfR also operates Adelaide Community Bicycle Workshop – a community enterprise open to the public, where volunteers help people to service or restore their bikes, borrow tools, etc.

In 2013-14, Bikes for Refugees handled 400 bicycles, most of which were donated by the public. 5 bikes in 6 – 340 bikes – were returned to rideable condition, and given to people in need. Of the remaining 60 bikes – 40 were dismantled for parts, to repair others bikes; 20 sold to help raise funds.

To request a bike for someone in need – information here.

For more information on Adelaide Community Bicycle Workshop, visit the website.

We also posted other documents, providing more information on what we do – see the end of the web page.

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

How Bikes for Refugees 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.

Nowadays, most people visit us directly in Franklin Street to collect their bikes.

The 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.

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 low 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.

Resources and funding:

Bikes for Refugees depends on private individuals, who volunteer their time free of charge; and on donations of parts and bikes from the public. Our income comes from sale of bikes or parts: either higher quality items where sale of one item provides significant funds; or older items, of interest to cycling enthusiasts.

We have some support in the form of provision of workspace, currently from Conseration Council of S Australia, and before that from West Torrens Council. Otherwise, we receive no on-going assistance, or government grants.

How to support Bikes for Refugees:

  • Donate a bike (from 07 Feb  2015).
    We welcome bikes that are in OK condition, and that we can get going again, relatively quickly. All  bikes get checked, serviced, and repaired if needed before they get handed on. A bit of rust is OK; so are flat tyres.  Most models, makes and styles are acceptable, though there are a few we can’t use.
  • Childrens bikes (12, 16 and 20 in wheel) – not needed due to low demand (June 2015)
  • ‘Budget brand bikes’  eg Huffy, Cyclops, Dunlop, Kent, Southern Star, Nitro. We only accept these if unridden, or as-new.
  • Very rusty bikes  A little rust is OK, but if a bike is very rusty, has been stored outdoors, we can’t hand it on.  Even  if we fix the  bikes  up, and it’s OK to ride –  people don’t want them.
  • Donate bike parts  Everyday parts in good condition, help to get other bikes going, and reduce our costs. We welcome saddles, tyres,  inner tubes,  pedals, etc etc, as these often need replacing.   Quality parts  e.g Campagnolo, Shimano 105, Mavic – and pre 1970s parts , can be  sold to raise funds.
  • Donate bike helmet, lock, lights, & accessories
  • Donate bike clothing e.g  souvenier tops used only once or twice
  • Buy a bike from us    We offer a range of secondhand bikes at good prices, often well known brands, fully serviced and checked. Basic  bikes for getting around;  vintage Australian-made steel frame bikes;  lightweight road bikes; unusual or historic bikes eg folding bikes, cruisers; imported bikes; tag-along bikes.  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
  • Become a volunteer  We’re looking for people with interest and some experience in bike maintenance/repair, available for a few hours a week.
  • Become a member of “Bikes for Refugees” – Membership form available on request.

Other ways to help 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 organisations that re-cycle  bicycles in Adelaide:

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.

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.


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

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

Workshop Address: The Joinery, 111 Franklin Street Adelaide (old Central Bus Station – opposite the Central Market)

Workshop Opening Hours:

  • Saturdays from 9. am to 3 pm
  • Tuesday to Friday 11am to 5 pm
  • see our Facebook page.

Further Information: Mike Brisco 0435 021 681


Information sheet for organistions or individuals wanting bikes

Procedure for checking bikes, 2011

Roadworthiness documentation – example

Bicycle safety information (in Farsi)

Report on 2009 Bikes for the Outback Scheme

2009 Annual Report, on Bikes for Refugees

Notes on how we recycle old bikes

Notes on how the scheme is organised

Last up dated 29th November 2016.