UK Gym Goes Vegan


Opening day at Flash bouldering gym. Photo: Flash
Flash Climbing in Birmingham, England opened their doors earlier this spring. Here you’ll find the typical amenities like amazing bouldering terrain, silks classes, and fun comps. One thing you won’t find is animal products. That’s because Flash and its owners are vegan. That means they use strictly vegan-friendly climbing shoes, serve almond and soy milk in their coffee and they sell vegan flapjacks and cakes.

“We wanted to open a climbing center and are all vegan so we thought it couldn’t not be vegan really,” explains co-owner Richard Twilton to the Birmingham Mail, who quit his job in TV and sold his apartment in London to start the business.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into making sure everything we do is vegan but we don’t make a big deal about it.”

The 3,200 square foot bouldering-only facility is a product of Twilton’s desire to care for the environment and extends into other aspects of making the business as ethical as possible. “I’ve been vegan for around two and a half years and vegetarian for 10 years,” he said. “I became vegan mostly for environmental reasons, to try to reduce the impact on agriculture and animals.

Twilton and his team went to great lengths to source vegan-suitable climbing shoes, eventually finding a firm that made non-leather shoes using vegan-friendly glue. They also sell organic t-shirts that are ethically sourced and have asked the companies who supply the gym to reduce their packaging when sending products.

When it came to the rest of the materials in the centre, most of it was made from plastic and recycled or reclaimed wood.

“In the future we’d like to open a vegan cafe here but we’re focusing on building the climbing side of the business first,” Twilton said.