HOMELESS people are bringing Oxford’s abandoned bikes back to life as part of a new city project.

Broken Spoke Bike Co-operative has teamed up with homeless charity Crisis Skylight Oxford and the city council to run the new scheme.

The Co-op, a project which gives space and advice to people who want to mend and build their own bikes, has agreed to take some of the many bikes abandoned in the city each year off the council.’s hands.

Last year Oxford City Council picked up 119 abandoned bicycles, and now some of the bikes found left to rust in the city’s streets will be brought back to life.

The scheme, based at a workshop in Pembroke Street, will now use the old bikes to offer free places for homeless people on its build-a-bike cycle maintenance programme, which teaches people how to bring bikes back to their former glory.

Cassiope Sydoriak, from Broken Spoke, said: “We are delighted to have a working partnership with Oxford City Council.

“Not only are we diverting abandoned bikes from the waste stream, we’re also giving Oxford residents an opportunity to learn practical skills and take direct ownership of their means of transport.”

Among those supporting the project is Kristin Schmidt, 28, of East Oxford. She is not homeless but is a regular user of the co-op, and said: “It’s a great idea to help get homeless people back into the workplace.”

Crisis Skylight Oxford director Kate Cocker said: “The build-a-bike course run by Broken Spoke is extremely popular with our clients, so we’re excited about this.

“Not only does the build-a-bike course improve our clients’ skills but it also gives them the chance to own their own means of transportation, which otherwise would not be possible.”

The news has also been welcomed by community leaders.

Broken Spoke board member and Green councillor Elise Benjamin said: “This is an excellent scheme which provides both educational and environmental benefits – teaching useful skills while saving old bikes from being dumped.”

City executive board member for Cleaner, Greener Oxford John Tanner said the project had environmental and social benefits.

He said: “It is fantastic working in partnership with the Broken Spoke to provide a creative solution to the problem of abandoned bikes in our city.”