Making a positive social change with sustainable banking

Triodos Bank finances Jake's Bikes

Jake in his shop in Bristol. Image credit Jennifer Garrett.

Working together for a healthier community

Triodos supports organisations and projects that create a positive change in society

4 July 2017

We work with a number of corporate partners who share our vision to make it easier for people to walk and cycle. Here we shine a spotlight on Triodos Bank who we collaborate with to raise vital funds for our work.

Triodos Bank only lend to and invest in organisations that benefit people and the environment. Read the interesting story of how one of their clients, Jake’s Bikes, is making it his business to enable as many people as possible in Bristol to cycle.

Jake’s Bikes

With over half a million people residing in Bristol the issues surrounding transport are no different to any other modern growing city; or are they? Cycling is part of what Bristol is all about. Since 2001 the number of people cycling to work in Bristol has more than doubled, the biggest growth for a UK city outside of London. One in ten Bristolians now cycle to work and the Council has ambitious plans to double that to 20% by 2020, inspired by what has been achieved by some of its European counterparts such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen which thrive with busy cycling communities.

While the terrain doesn’t naturally support a commute by bicycle its prominence amongst the residents of Bristol is one of the many examples of the progressive nature of a city that was European Green Capital in 2015.

Triodos Bank is a Sustrans affiliate partner precisely because they actively seek to use banking to promote environmental sustainability and healthy communities throughout the UK. Among their pioneering clients nationwide is the Bristol-based bike shop, Jake’s Bikes. Owned and operated by lifetime cyclist Jake Voelcker, Jake’s isn’t your typical shop. Determined to focus on how to best service Bristol commuters, Jake has designed and launched a specialised and sustainable range of commuting bikes.

If we provide great customer service and can teach people the basic skills they need if they want to learn then we can help sustain a shifting momentum in the commuting patterns of our community. 

- Jake Voelcker, Jake's Bikes, Bristol

The ‘Bristol Bicycles’ range aims to encourage more commuters to try the two-wheeled friend as an option to get to the office or just to the pub. Their design is built to suit the many hills of Bristol, while their cost means that they are an affordable alternative for someone new to cycling. With over 500 now built, Bristol Bicycles is having a sizable impact on local commuting habits. New designs include an electric version of their classic and a touring bike that has been featured as ‘Bike of the Week’ in the Guardian.

Hidden away behind the bus station is an unassuming store in the heart of Bristol. Its community ethos and desire to make cycling accessible is a refreshing take on how shops can work. Their aim is to “help as many people as possible to cycle”, whether it’s the sale of a new or used bike or their fully functioning workshop for all your service repairs.

But it’s a different proposition to your typical bike shop. To increase bike knowledge, they share their expertise, provide training so customers can keep on rolling by doing their own repairs. And driven by a community ethic, Jake’s provides a fleet of over 100 Bristol Bicycles as hire bikes for University of Western England students—a scheme that is over-subscribed every year.

As you set foot in the shop, it’s apparent that the character of this place is different to a regular high street bike shop. It’s not a specialist store with bikes costing more than cars, neither is it somewhere you feel out of place because you aren’t wearing the right gear or don’t have the latest trendy fixed gear bike. It’s down to earth. In fact, Jake himself says that “our speciality is that we don’t specialise,” being adaptable, creative and inclusive make this bike shop accessible to all, but most importantly a friendly place if you don’t know anything about bikes.

To make commuting by bike an option for more people, Jake’s provides a quality service that doesn’t break the bank. They aim to bridge the gap between the charity sector of bike projects and the bike shop aimed at an enthusiast. Bristol has over 60 bike shops, but that doesn’t concern Jake, for him “it’s great to see more people using bikes and needing bike shops”.

“We just want to keep cycling simple,” says Jake. “If we provide great customer service and can teach people the basic skills they need if they want to learn then we can help sustain a shifting momentum in the commuting patterns of our community.”

By taking an active role in supporting initiatives that have social, environmental and cultural benefit, Triodos Bank is bringing together a movement of people dedicated to positive change. By banking with Triodos—whether it’s your yearly ISA contribution or your holiday savings—your money really can help change the world.

As an added bonus, if you open a Triodos savings account via www.triodos.co.uk/sustrans and deposit at least £100, Triodos Bank will donate £40 to Sustrans. Full terms and conditions can be found on the web page.

Interest rates may change. Favourable tax treatment for ISAs could change in the future and depends on your individual circumstances. One donation made per customer.

Find out how to save with Triodos Bank and support Sustrans