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8 Mar 2024

Daniel Blackham, editor of industry magazine BikeBiz, has been writing about his experience of completing the Cytech technical one qualification at training provider Spokes People in Milton...

7 Mar 2024

ACT member and Cytech-accredited retailer JE James Cycles – one of the largest independent cycle retailers in Europe – is to open a new 7,874 sq ft store shop in Barnsley town...

6 Mar 2024

Cytech partner Activate Cycle Academy, the largest and most recognised training provider of bike maintenance and technical training courses to the UK’s cycle industry, recently welcomed a...

29 Feb 2024

Retailers looking for a payment solution that facilitates in-person, remote and online payments should look at what’s on offer from ACT partner Global Payments.
 

29 Feb 2024

The ACT is happy to confirm the date for Local Bike Shop Day 2024 as Saturday 4 May, the weekend of the early May Bank Holiday.

29 Feb 2024

The ACT team have had a great week catching up with retailers and other industry representatives at the iceBike shows in London and Manchester this week.

27 Feb 2024

The inaugural Cycling Electric magazine Demo Day will take place on Sunday, April 28th, at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.

27 Feb 2024

New research from the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF), a Brussels-based advocacy group, has confirmed that if a city has more bike lanes, more people will cycle. The results will give...

13 Feb 2024

2024 is well underway and we’re just around the corner from the Spring Statement and for the retail sector it’s pretty much business as usual…or is it?

13 Feb 2024

Fabian Hamilton MP, co-chair of the Walking and Cycling All-Party Parliamentary Group, has said that the Cycle to Work scheme "must be reformed".

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Cycle shop setup to employ ex-offenders helps fight bike theft

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

A bike shop that was created to provide jobs for ex-offenders leaving prison has now become a safe space for people to park their bikes.

XO Bikes

Picture: instagram.com/xobikes/

XO Bikes, based in Lewisham and Wandsworth shopping centres, has teamed up with app Hudjo that helps users find secure parking for their bikes to combat the rise in bike thefts.

Founder of XO Bikes, Stef Jones, 58, from West Dulwich, used to run an advertising agency in Soho before he became a volunteer at Brixton prison and said he setup the company because he “kept seeing the same guys coming back to prison”.

According to the latest Ministry of Justice figures, Lewisham’s reoffending rate was just under a quarter, at 23.5 per cent.

Mr Jones believes the reoffending rate is so high because ex-offenders struggle to find employment once they have left prison.

“Ex-offenders are obliged to declare [to employers] they have been to prison and because of harsh policies from the across the political parties who want to be tough on crime there is no investment in rehabilitation, just punishment,” said Mr Jones.

“The only education they receive is how to commit crime. they’re left with no hope and no belief. But if you give them a chance, they will show you that they are hard-working, brilliant and loyal staff.”

Mr Jones first opened XO Bikes in Lewisham shopping centre in May 2022 before opening the second shop in Wandsworth this summer.

“I don’t want to be Halfords,” said Mr Jones. “I just want a loud brand that can be built on the shoulders of guys in prison and to hopefully change the behaviour of other employers.”

The shop gets unclaimed bikes from the police and donations from the public, which Mr Jones says they always need more of. They fix up the bikes and sell them on to help pay the wages of staff and to train more ex-offenders.

Trevelyan Shonubi, 24, from east London is one of the mechanics at the bike store and said it was “a relief” knowing he had a job lined up when he left prison.

“I was only in for 14 or 15 months but it’s a worry when you come out because of how employers view people in prison.

“I was approached by an organisation four or five weeks before my release who told me about XO Bikes – I worked as a mechanic before I went to prison – and I thought ‘yeah, that’s me’.

“It was a relief, it was ideal. What I’m doing right now is my passion.”

Now the shop is helping combat bike thefts acting a safe storage location for those worried about locking it up in the street.

Charlie FitzRoy, co-founder of Hudjo said: “After having our bikes stolen, David Gamble and I co-founded Hudjo, an app that enables cyclists to easily find and securely park within the premises of businesses – think Airbnb but for parking your bike.  

 “Stef and the rest of the team at XO bikes have been incredibly helpful and open minded to give our new app a go. We look forward to partnering with them to help tackle problems with bike theft crime.”

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