As the third nationwide lockdown is looking likely to come to an end soon, and as we prepare to open our doors to students once again, we have taken the chance to catch up with another of our Bike Inn graduates: one Mr Harvey Tye...
...now trading as Beardyman Bike Repairs.
Time For Change
Harvey had been working as a skilled carpenter and joiner for 38 years, when he had what might have been called an epiphany – he decided he wanted to become a bicycle mechanic.
I knew what I wanted to do… as a passionate cyclist I had been repairing my own and friends bikes for many years, and knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my working life - to help people enjoy going out on their bikes, and to make their experience of cycling both enjoyable and safe.
Being naturally apprehensive about such a big change after so many years earning a living from the only professional trade he knew, it was time to do some research. He looked into courses and qualifications that would give him both the skills required to ensure he could deliver the very highest standard of repair and maintenance, as well as the recognition and credibility of having gained his qualification from an industry-leading training provider.
Harvey decided he wanted to go all-in … if he was going to get qualified then he was going to get the highest level of vocational qualification that he could, and this led him to the OFQUAL approved IMI Level 3 Bicycle Mechanics qualification. An added bonus of this being that it is internationally recognised (an important added extra for Harvey as an active competitor and supporter of events both at home and abroad) and also covers all the requirements needed for insurance purposes when it came to setting up his new business.
“Any apprehension about attending the course was quickly cast aside after having a chat with the team at the Bike Inn. After my conversation I knew that this was the course that I needed to complete to ensure I had the necessary knowledge and skills to become not just a good mechanic, but a great mechanic!”
Harvey took his course during the summer of 2020 following the first national lockdown, attending the Bike Inn school here in Cumbria under our traditional on-site learning model.
The course was run over a three week period during the Summer between lockdowns. To be honest I lived, breathed and slept bicycles during this time...
... The course is a combination of both practical work during the day followed up with theory work on an evening. Most nights I found I was busy writing essays again - a skill that I thought was lost long ago! Throughout this though,h the kind and friendly support from both The Bike Inn and the other course attendees was invaluable! “
Not Just Any Training - But The Right Training
Right from the start Harvey knew that this training and subsequent qualification was not going to be just for his own enjoyment and benefit, but also his means of earning a living whilst doing something he loved – he was fixed on his goal from the outset - to
Our IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) Level 3 qualification is one of only a couple of OFQUAL accredited qualifications in bicycle mechanics here in the UK, putting it at the top of the pile of cycling industry training programmes.
Here at the Bike Inn we believe that teaching our students how to be and work as a professional mechanic goes beyond just the requirements of the course syllabus – which is why we also incorporate additional elements over and above this, including useful advice and resources for people like Harvey who are going to be setting up or running their own business.
So How Did It All Work Out For Harvey...?
Upon completion I have gone on to establish my own business repairing bikes, and quite proudly tell everyone I’m a Bike Mechanic now! From the first day I advertised my business there has been a regular flow of bicycles coming into the workshop. The Bike Inn have continued to be very supportive of my new venture and I have kept in touch with others who also completed the course which has proved to be a very valuable network of contacts to share business ideas with.
I would definitely recommend that anyone who is thinking of undertaking a course should do it. It gave me the confidence to change career and prove you’re never too old to learn new tricks.