Velüs: bikes just keep on giving
Cycling is, after walking, the most environmentally-friendly mode of transport. Bicycles are also the best vehicle in terms of social value and in terms of contributing to the creation of a fairer economy. Basically, the Velüs project is a no-brainer! This Emmaus project involves cleaning and repairing second-hand bikes as well as managing the bikes according to a circular economy logic: by re-using bikes that have been given to Emmaus. Vincent Chapuis, the leader of the Emmaus Jura group, told us a little bit about this trendy project being led by Emmaus in Switzerland.
Emmaus Jura decided to use bikes as a means for creating a fairer, more equal society. Thanks to partnerships with associations which work in the field of mobility and who are our allies in the social economy sector, we were able to open a repair/upcycling workshop in Boncourt. Michel joined us and has since become “Mr Velüs”. He set up the workshop and skilfully oversees the repairing of the bikes, some of which are sent to us in poor condition. This activity has not yet reached financial autonomy but it provides us with a great opportunity to reach out to a new audience and to tell them about what Emmaus does. For example, the Velüs team sometimes leave the workshop for events where we offer free repairs and maintenance. At these events people (re)discover that bikes, even old bikes, are both useful as a way of getting around and as a way of forming bonds with others.
A brand to develop and a network to create
In the Jura region, hidden away in garages and attics, an estimated 2,000-3,000 bikes are waiting to hit the roads again! We decided to work with just mechanical bikes, not electric bikes, and we have partnerships with independent bike shops from our local area. The local salesmen have outlined how what Velüs brings to the table complements their offer. Our intention now is to continue to build up the Velüs brand (a word combining “velo” (bike) and “Emmaus”) in order to make the most of the social potential that bikes offer. We are looking for partners to help us to create a network of skills throughout the Emmaus movement as many of our groups regularly fix bikes. Together we could share our technical knowledge and also contribute towards developing more social and income-generating initiatives related to bikes and cycling. What do you think of the idea of an Emmaus bike network that stretches all across Europe?
More information on https://emmaus-jura.ch
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