Back in 2009, when Raqhib Islam was just 14 years old, fixing bikes with a local youth worker around the Regents Park Estate, learning important trade skills and “staying out of trouble” as he puts it.
Today, Raqhib, gives us a tour of Your Bike Project’s headquarters among the fruit and vegetables in Story Garden, Somers Town, on the same area where he started. The space, a rare lush oasis amidst the urban maze of inner London council estates, offers locals a respite from the aged concrete and new glass and steel. “Basically kids come here, they learn, they fix bikes, and they realise that, hey, this is a living for us.”
While the project was initially focused on young people, during the pandemic, Raqhib was inundated with requests for bikes. “I had to go above and beyond, we donated 100 bikes back to the community, and my phone was constantly blowing up. We just had to learn how to survive”.