A Torfaen man is riding high after receiving Welsh Government support to launch a bicycle repair business during the coronavirus lockdown.
Nathan Shephard has benefitted from a grant of £1,500 to secure training qualifications and help make his dream job a reality, at a time when the number of people using bikes has increased across the country.
He received advice and support through the Welsh Government’s Working Wales and Communities for Work Plus programmes, and repairs and services bicycles in his garden shed where he follows social distancing guidelines and hygiene precautions when customers drop off and collect their bikes.
Nathan, 28, said: “I have always been into bikes and have a very mechanical mind. As a child, I was always taking toys apart and putting them back together again and I used to build things with my Gramp in his garage.
“I think this spurred me on to start this business and I was driven by a firm belief that if you enjoy your job you’ll never work a day in your life.
“But some of the information you get when you start a business is overwhelming.
“Thankfully, Torfaen Council’s Communities for Work Plus programme helped make it so much easier. I really can’t thank them enough.
“They supported me in writing a business plan and helped me secure funding for insurance, tools, business cards and flyers which was vital in getting started.”
Shephard’s Bike Maintenance carries out services and repairs to wheel bearings, gears, and brakes among other repairs and bike maintenance.
Nathan added: “It’s very therapeutic to see a problem with a bicycle and get it working again.
“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.
“My ultimate goal is to have a shop and sell bicycles and do repairs.”
Minister for Economy, Transport, and North Wales, Ken Skates said: “We are facing unprecedented economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus crisis so it’s vitally important we unlock all opportunities for people in Wales as we aim to build back better post-pandemic.
“I am extremely proud programmes likes Working Wales and Communities for Work Plus are having a positive impact helping the most disadvantaged people in our communities. I wish Nathan every success for the future with his bike repair business.”
To talk to someone about starting a business in Torfaen call the local authority’s Communities For Work Plus team on 01495 742 131.
Shephard’s Bike Maintenance can be contacted on 07367 180 775.