As well as fixing our second hand bikes and running corporate servicing days, Ed and Stu teach basic bike maintenance skills to volunteers and refugees at our Thursday evening workshop.
Aged 15, Stu started tinkering with bikes down in Suffolk’s sunny Center Parcs. After practicing his fine bike-polishing techniques on kids’ Burley trailers in their cycle hire outlet he completed his Cytech Level 2 qualification, progressed to the role of Mr Manager, and ended up with a fleet of 2000 hire bikes under his charge!
After moving to London Stu worked as a freelance mobile repair mechanic and did a stint at Evans Cycles in Canary Wharf. Since then, there’s been no turning back. He’s done the rounds at a whole host of London’s bike cafes, high-end independent bike shops and community Dr Bike events. As a result, he’s come face-to-face with an impressive range of bikes - from 9k professional race bikes to classic vintage Italian road bikes. If they’ve made it, he’s fixed it! We asked Stu what he likes about fixing bikes:
The pleasure in my work comes from the reaction you get when you get a persons tired but much loved old bike fully serviced and working like new.
Stu now spends half the week running his own private repairs business (“Hackney Bike Repairs”) and the other half at The Bike Project, fixing, rapping, decaf-tea drinking, and teaching mechanics to refugees.
Edd also grew up in the Suffolk countryside (not actually a bike mechanic requirement, promise!) There, he used to tinker with broken bikes. If he fixed them, he could cycle and see his friends in the next village: it was as simple as that. As teens they stepped up to mountain biking in the woods. Again, if bits of their bikes broke, they learnt to fixed ‘em.
With these skills up his sleeve and his tools under his belt, Edd joined the Otesha Project charity for a six week cycle tour. Since then he’s stuck around in London, working part-time for Otesha running cycling related programs, and the rest of the time racking up a healthy bike-themed CV: He’s worked for LCC, Bikeworks and Sustrans, running Dr Bike sessions, charity bike-builds, and teamwork training events around the country.
These days Edd spends [the better] half [of] his week with us at The Bike Project. If he’s not helping fundraise for the charity doing corporate bike repairs, he’s upcycling every scrap of metal he can get his hands on! But it’s at our workshop HQ that Edd’s most at home, passing on the wealth of mechanic knowledge he’s built up to our refugee visitors, volunteers and little kids on the estate!
And have you seen how long his hair is...?