I’ve been cycling the whole of my life and two thirds of my working life has been in bike retail or servicing bikes. I went to the United Bicycle Institute in Oregan to learn my trade. But you can never learn all there is to know about bikes. Although bikes are universal mechanically and they all do the same thing, it is also a constantly changing product in that they come in different and ever lighter metals, there are lots more gears, there’s more specialism now than there used to be and all sorts of products are available to improve the experience of cycling.
I’ve owned bikes since three years old – a kind of chopper bike. At 7 I got a BMX and in the early 90s I got my first mountain bike – a means to escape from society, which we all need to do from time to time.
What I love about cycling is the people it attracts. I like helping them resolve their cycling issues. I love the simplicity of bikes – they basically make you go faster than if you walk. I’m at Johns Bikes because I like to make cycling more enjoyable – it’s a simple as that.
I worked for three and half years at the big bike retailer, Evans and was transferred to their Bristol branch.Before Evans I was a marine engineer – making parts for boats, so I went from boats to bikes.
I was born and bred in Bath and I’ve loved bikes all my life. I got it off my dad. He’s always been obsessed with bikes, especially Johns Bikes. If he’s going there he’ll say “I’m off to St Johns” or “the church””. He thinks it’s the best bike shop for miles around.
Growing up I was massively into BMXing to the point that if I missed a day I’d get withdrawal symptoms. It’s just the physicality of it that I loved. Now I’ve got a fixed-gear bike, which I love for the challenge of keeping going under my own power.
I was over the moon to get the job at John’s Bikes. We are responsible for the maintenance of the bikes in the Bike in Bath rental scheme and my job is to check those daily. In the shop I’m a back-up mechanic and shop assistant. The atmosphere at the shop is brilliant. I love the people I work with and those who come in. It’s just perfect for me.
It’s only recently that bike mechanic schools have emerged. Before that everyone was just self-taught out of necessity, as is the case for me.
I really love the aethetics of the bike. It’s just a beautiful machine with great proportions. It does its job very well and is all it needs to be and nothing more.
Working here two days a week fits well with my music degree. Did you know that Elgar rode a bike? There’s a statue in our home town, Malvern, of him riding a bike. He composed Enigma Variations while on a bike. That’s the beauty of cycling - it leaves your mind free to roam.
I love the fact that I have loads of customer contact in the workshop. When people come to Johns Bikes they are looking for someone they can trust. They just want their bike to work and for us to do what needs doing and no add ons. That’s what Johns Bikes is about – trust. Its one of the things that attracted me to work here and it is being trusted by the customer that is one of the great things about working here.