A Cwmbran man has launched a bicycle repair business in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown- just as the country sees a boom in people cycling for their daily exercise and to travel to work. Nathan Shephard passed his bicycle mechanic qualification in 2019 and has been preparing to start-up for several months.
He now repairs and services bicycles in his garden shed. His dream business idea came up when he was chatting to his Jobcentre coach who put him in touch with Careers Wales.
He said: “They got me a grant of £1,500 through the access fund but I had to prove I would get a job out of the training. This paid for me to do the course in Cardiff and pass the qualification you need to fix bicycles.
“I got in touch with Richard Murphy and Lisa Baulch from Torfaen Council’s Communities For Work. They helped me write a business plan and got me funding for my public liability insurance, some tools, business cards and flyers. Bron Afon (note- my employer) paid for a year’s subscription to both the Uddr app and Torfaen Business Voice.
“I’ve always been into bikes and enjoy riding. If you enjoy your job you’ll never work a day in your life. I had one customer who had been to a large cycle shop and was told repairs would cost £200. I checked it over and was able to do the work for a fraction of that.
“I’m able to do services, wheel bearings, gears, brakes, bottom brackets, headsets, in fact, anything apart from suspension. I’m trained to do it, but I haven’t got the tools and every fork is different.
“People love their bikes. So they get to talk to me as I’m the face of the business. It’s very therapeutic to see a problem with a bicycle and get it working again.
“I’ve got a very mechanical mind. As a child, I was always taking toys apart and putting them back together again. I used to build things with my gramp in his garage and I think this spurred me on to start this business.
“Some of the info you get when you start a business is overwhelming. Richard and Lisa at Communities That Work were great to talk to and helped make this easier. I can’t thank them enough.”
Customers drop their bicycles off at his home, where he follows all social distancing guidelines and hygiene precautions. He then contacts them when their bike is fixed and ready to be collected.
“My ultimate goal is to have a shop and sell bicycles and do repairs.”
If you want to talk to someone about starting a business in Torfaen call the council’s Communities For Work team on 01495 742 131.
Contact Shephard’s Bike Maintenance
Call or text: 07367 180 775
Email: [email protected]