How to save old bikes from landfill

Sometimes it's a once-loved dream machine that's been elbowed out to make way for an upgrade; sometimes it's an over-engineered speed demon that's become a remnant of an ambitious past.

Either way, chances are you've either got a disused bike languishing somewhere – or know someone who does. And chances are this trash could become another rider's treasure if given a little TLC.

The Bicycle Network team encountered this situation in November after coming into possession of around 100 bikes at a deceased estate – the home of someone whose family ran a bike shop.

Skips had been arranged and workers were due to clear out the loot, so the team had about 24 hours to come up with a plan that would prevent the bikes going to landfill.

Luckily, a number of organisations answered the call and helped us save the bikes, some old and some brand new, and get them back into the community.

These organisations do vital work refurbishing unused bikes and readying them for life on the road again and offer would-be riders a new means of getting around.

If you've got an old bike that's not getting the love that it used to, or find yourself with one too many after the festive season, please get in touch with one of the organisations below. They may be able to take it off your hands for its next life.

Dr Cranky's Bikes for Kids

Dr Cranky (Bart Sbeghen) came and collected half a dozen bikes from the estate for his program within 48 hours of hearing the news. Dr Cranky recycles donated bikes with the help of parent volunteers and gives them to kids at participating schools. The program received a VicHealth award in 2019 for the good work it does in the community. It has repaired or given away nearly 4000 bikes over the years since the organisation began in 2014. Check out the website here.

Bicycles for Humanity

The good people of Bicycles for Humanity also rushed to answer the call and collected more than 80 adult-sized bikes from the estate. This volunteer-run charity focuses on alleviating poverty through sustainable transport in the form of a bicycle. It recycles bikes otherwise destined for landfill and sends them overseas to communities in need. Check out the website here.


Based in Port Melbourne, Back2Bikes is a non-profit out to offer affordable transport for low-income earners and those in need by bringing old bikes back to life, including some of those collected through the estate mentioned above. Run by volunteers, the organisation also offers bike mechanical training for interested community members as part of its mission to get more people on bikes. Check out the website here.

The Bike Shed

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Bike Shed (@thebikeshed.brunswick)

The Bike Shed at CERES in Brunswick is another community-run organisation that accepts donated bikes. It uses old and new parts to get them back on the road and into the hands of people in need. The work is done by a mix of volunteers and professional mechanics. It's Fix Your Own Bike workshops are also hugely popular. Check out the website here.


The Northcote-based WeCycle community bike shed is another volunteer-run organisation focused on empowering marginalised members of the community through bicycles. It does this by re-homing disused bikes and helping riders develop the skills to maintain and care for them. Check out the website here.

Like our articles?

Become a Member and help fund our advocacy work.

Join Now

Or become our friend and subscribe to receive our fortnightly newsletter.