Bikes for Refugees

About Bikes for Refugees SA Incorporated (ABN 20 663 461 735):

BfR is a bike recycling scheme, operating under the supervision of BISA, supplying bikes free of charge to people in need. The scheme is now (2018) 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.

Mission:  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. To request a bike for someone in need see here.

Mike, Coordinator, BfR.

Contact: Mike Brisco (Co-ordinator)  

E:    M: 0435 021 681

How BfR 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’s transport system has developed around car ownership and use. If  you don’t own a car,  it is difficult  to meet daily travel needs. And many services are provided and located on the assumption that users have access to a motor vehicle to drive there. Your  home (for instance) may be 2 or 3 km from the nearest school or shops and public transport may be inaccessible or infrequent.

What BfR provides:  Refugees settling in Adelaide often need many 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 volunteers who provide 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 provision of workspace, currently from Conservation Council of South Australia (prior to this from West Torrens Council). Otherwise, we receive no on-going assistance or government grant.

You Can Support Bikes for Refugees:

Donate a bike: 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 as are flat tyres.  Most models, makes and styles are acceptable, though there are a few we can’t use (we’ll tell you).

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 ‘vintage’ or ‘collector’ parts  (e.g Campagnolo, Shimano 105, Mavic, Suntour) & pre-1970s parts are welcome as they can often be sold to raise funds.

Donate Accessories:  bike helmets, lock (with keys), lights etc are always needed.

Donate Bike Clothing: e.g  souvenier tops in clean condition.

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.

To see what we have for sale, just search on Gumtree for  “Bikes for Refugees”  or our ABN number “20 663 461 735” ;  or drop by the Bike Workshop on Franklin Street to check out our stock.

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. Contact Mike.

Become a Member: Bikes for Refugees Membership form available on request.

Some Caveats:

  • Childrens bikes (with 12, 16 and 20 inch wheels) are not needed due to low demand. Maybe take them to your local charity shop…
  • ‘Budget brand bikes’  (eg; Huffy, Cyclops, Dunlop, Kent, Southern Star, Nitro etc) are only accepted if unridden or ‘as new’ – their low quality frequently makes their repair or refurbishing unrealistic!
  • Very rusty bikes – a little rust is OK, but if a bike is very rusty or has been stored outdoors, we can’t hand it on.  Even if we fix the  bikes  up, and they are OK to ride, we find that people just don’t want them.

Adelaide Community Bicycle Workshop:

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. For more information visit the ACBW website.

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: The peak body for recreational cycling runs its own recycling schemes (e.g to supply BMX and mountain bikes to the APY lands). They also have 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)

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 27th September, 2018.