Sustainability is, thankfully, a subject that is increasingly being talked about. You may not perceive the world of cycling as among the worst offenders, but we should not underestimate the environmental impact of cycling. Every sustainable initiative in the cycling world deserves to be celebrated—last year, for example, Team Sky rode with special shirts during the Tour de France to draw the public’s attention to the excessive use of plastic. Meanwhile sustainable bike-related projects are increasing in popularity in the Low Countries too. One of the most interesting being bikeshop Circular Cycling.

Sustainable bicycle

The name ‘circular’ probably gives this initiative away. Those who are unfamiliar with the concept will certainly know the market, which basically aims to minimise the use of raw materials. This can be achieved by recycling products, either partly or entirely, so that products are not disposed of but re-used. The most well-known online circular marketplace is eBay, though the recycling shop on the corner is also part of this more-sustainable economy.

These days there are more and more initiatives starting up that make new products from old raw materials. And that’s what Circular Cycling is all about. But it’s also more than a traditional second-hand bike shop. The so-called UpCycle bikes it sells are fully refurbished, meaning the new bikes are built up out of a mixture of old and new parts. The parts have either been donated, or been bought up, but essentially this means that every UpCycle is unique.


A refurbished Trek Madone by UpCycle. Photograph: Circular Cycling.

As good as new

These bikes are, in fact, as good as new. Because even though they have been assembled from second-hand parts, the parts have been totally cleaned-up and checked before being fitted. Also, every UpCycle is guaranteed to have new cables, and (crucially) new handlebars.

The new bikes are therefore a pleasing combination of parts that go well together, and still every customer gets their own unique product. Furthermore, each machine is issued with a bike ‘passport’. Through a QR code on the frame, this means you can get more information about all the parts from which your bike is made up. The passport therefore makes future maintenance easier, as well as being interesting for the bike part nerds.

Doing your bit(s)

The Circular Cycling start-up has been kept alive by three founders. They run the business alongside a day job, and don’t earn any money from it. The money that the bike sales generate only cover purchasing parts and hours spent working on the bikes. The founders are always looking for boxes of parts that people are willing to sell for a (small) price. Got any bits? You can make yourself known on the start-up’s website. Surely this is a better destination for all your old bike parts, than letting them gather dust on the shelf…