Abby from Good Cycles

the new Brunswick store and working within in a supportive community
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Evergreen
No items found.
< < Drag images > >

Abby works with the social enterprise Good Cycles, which opened a new Brunswick bicycle store and workshop in The Village earlier this year.

What does Good Cycles do?

Our primary focus is youth, but we are expanding that to encompass other groups who have had trouble entering the workforce. We help them into entry level work. Our impact team then works with them to set both personal and career goals, and the aim is for them to eventually either move up within our organisation, or move on to another organisation and progress their career. 

We try to have as many pathways as possible. That includes retail, and warehousing. If it's right for the person, they could have a career as a mechanic - which could mean just starting on the tools as a bike mechanic, and then eventually going on to somewhere like Kangan Institute and becoming a car mechanic if they wish. We also have different areas of the organisation like asset maintenance in the CBD, cleaning for car share services, looking after the solar bins in the city - a broad range of things. Those jobs are all done on an e-bike, so they don't require a licence. That means people who don't have access to a car or were unable to get a licence for whatever reason can still work.

We also have what we call Open Spaces out in Sunshine, so if people want to do more gardening work or if they live in the west, they can do landscaping and ground management along highways. There's an option to learn heavy machinery operation as well, for instance tractors and larger mowers.

What was your own journey with Good Cycles?

I started out doing the Pedal Empowerment program, which teaches people bike skills and maintenance. It was the last round before the pandemic started. Then I started as a trainee mechanic in the CBD store amidst the on-off lockdowns, and eventually moved into a bike mechanic role. Now I’ve moved into the Retail Stock Supervisor role, and I also do mechanic work in the Brunswick store.

How did Good Cycles come to open a shop in Nightingale Village?

The ethos of both organisations aligned, which was a big consideration because to be honest, we have been offered plenty of spaces. Often it's a company wanting to do a bit of greenwashing and slap a social enterprise on their business to make them look okay. We understood the ethos of what Nightingale was trying to do, and found it closely aligned with ours - as well as our sense of wanting to be part of the community, and support alternative transport. So eventually, the opportunity came up at Nightingale Village, and we came and saw the space and were super excited about it. 

We saw potential for a community hub in Brunswick. Quite a few of our staff have either lived or worked in the area. It's an area that a lot of people love and it has a very strong alternative transport culture which we definitely wanted to tap into. 

How are you and your team finding the new space?

It's been great. There's a nice little community there. All of the residents are very invested and supportive. They come down quite often, even if they're not getting work done - just to see how we are. We had a very nice interaction when a staff member forgot to lock a window, and residents were immediately calling us up to let us know. You wouldn't get that anywhere else.

We went to a Nightingale event in the park, a ‘Welcome to the Community’. It felt like a giant family cookout. 

What do you think of Clare Cousins Architects’ design for Nightingale Evergreen?

It's a gorgeous building. I love the forecourt, the open space with trees - all this livable space. You can just see the difference in design when it's people-first as opposed to automotive infrastructure-first. It makes a massive difference.

Learn more about Nightingale commercial spaces here.

The commercial space where Good Cycles is based is collectively owned by a group of Nightingale residents who wanted to offer a reduced rent to a social enterprise. Read their story here.

First published in
July 2023