The Bike Doctor Academy was declared open for business by London’s cycle-mad mayor Boris Johnson last month.
Run by Sean Lally, the business began and still partially operates as a mobile cycle repair business. However, with the opening of the Islington Academy, Lally has hired a number of experienced cycle mechanics, who will be based in the 2,500 sq foot, state-of-the-art workshop, training students in every aspect of cycle mechanics and developing the skills necessary to enter the cycle industry.
At the launch Johnson commented: “It is fantastic to come here and witness the birth of the Bike Doctor Academy, which will help to provide London with a home-grown generation of cycling specialists, capable of responding to the cycle boom that is currently underway.
“It is essential that London adapts to changing economic trends. Initiatives like the Bike Doctor Academy exemplify that, and will, I hope, prove community and entrepreneurial spirit can come together to set up a lasting skills and environmental legacy.”
During BikeBiz’s visit, Lally talked optimistically about his aspirations for the business: “We’ve had a fantastic response to date and our early courses are booked out until September. Our courses are open to trade members and the public, so with any luck a portion of our students will go on to redress the shortage of cycle mechanics available. Going forward into 2010 we’re looking to introduce various advanced wheelbuilding courses, as well as a module on e-bikes.”
The firm’s strategy director and investor Howard Barrett praised the large number of brands that have been quick to back the facility, apparently recognising the need for further training facilities in this country.
“As bike product becomes more sophisticated we want our courses to be at the cutting edge and go above and beyond the ‘pass’ level with our teaching. That’s why it’s great to have such widespread support. It’s a testimony to Sean and Julia’s hard work in making this Academy a reality.”
The repair aspect of the business has plenty to shout about too. The firm has bagged ‘fleet repair’ contracts with the likes of Aviva, several councils, the GLA and the Houses of Parliament among other city businesses.
“Companies are waking up to the fact that people want to cycle to work,” added Lally. “At a cost of £300 per day, one of our fully trained mechanics will cycle to a customer and do a full day’s work on as many bikes as possible. Many are happy to keep their employees’ bikes in tip-top shape as they recognise people get to work on time when they cycle.”
The car-free ethical policy is something the Bike Doctor takes very seriously. “I’m fairly sure that last year we were the only company to take everything, including our stand, to the Cycle Show by bike. We’re pretty militant in our transport choice, even our strategy director sold his car! We’ll be at Cycle Show again this October, so trade and consumers alike can come and discuss our courses.”
For those interested in enrolling, sign up either online at www.the-bike-doctor.co.uk or by phone at 07726 921002.