Since the age of 16 I have travelled and competed in professional Dirt Jump, Slopestyle mountain bike competitions and raced in both Fourcross and Pummptrack events. I have picked up some awesome sponsorships for my riding and spend my time, learning new stunts on my jump bike and running the Access Bike Project.
In 2014 I finished school and took on the Access Bike Project as my part time job, this was the perfect role to work alongside my aspirations to be a pro mountain biker. But then things took a tumble and while recovering from a sporting Injury. We opened up the Access Bike Workshop and made my part time role, 3 days a week running the Access Bike Project. Its been awesome!
So far we’ve done a charity bike ride, built and raced a raft, as well as helped loads of people build up their own bikes. It has been so good for me as well, learning loads about different peoples understandings and needs. The project has funded me and another friend to complete a L1 cycle instructor course, and has helped me developed my skills in teaching, sharing as well as influenced a huge creative spark I didn’t know I had.
Have a look what I have been teaching the team to make!
And find out more about my MOUNTAIN BIKING here ..
I first visited the project in March 2017 because I needed a bike to join a few of my friends on the 24 mile round trip to my college in Cirencester.
I made the short walk down to the project just to see what it was all about and, after choosing my bike with the help of Alfie and some of the other guys, I payed the very small fee and went home with my new ride.
As it turns out, that would not be my last trip to Access Bike, not by a long shot. Ever since that day I have tried to get to the workshop almost everyday it is open and the people there have become a huge part of my daily life. I now go riding with them regularly and see them all three times a week at the workshop. I really think we are a close group of friends and it’s so cool to see new, awesome people coming down and joining us whether they have an in-depth knowledge of bike mechanics or just love riding.
I love seeing people’s joy for the sport grow within a matter of weeks and I for one have developed a serious passion for the sport of cycling and all the disciplines within it; especially mini bike racing!
First of all, I love mountain biking, this and my interest in engineering drove me in the direction of the workshop, so I decided to visit the workshop. I was very keen in enabling myself to mend my own bike because I broke mine so frequently, and workshop gave me this opportunity. It helped me learn about the different problems from bikes and how to fix it.
Since i started properly volunteering at the workshop it has given me many different opportunities, from raft racing down a canal to bike powered smoothies and running my own micro-business selling upcycled chandeliers! The amazing people that I have met have given me new skills, which I can pass on. But not only skills, the workshop gives a safe space for all, and friendships.
Check out Ralph's very own Chandelier Store!
I didn't know I was interested in bikes. I could ride them but had no idea it was a cool thing to do with friends. I first visited Access Bike with a group of 10 other home- educated friends. One of our parents had arranged the session for us to try out new skills and learn about cycling. I started the day a but by the time got home I couldn't wait to go back! I very quickly became a volunteer at Access Bike. And I have been almost every day since. The guys have been cool and helped me build a fair few bikes. I then went to do a mechanics course and now know everything.
After 23 years as a Royal Air Force engineer my career came to an abrupt end when I had a stroke. I couldn’t carry on in the Air Force but I did benefit from their veteran disability compensation scheme – giving me money to live off and bursaries for training in new areas. I loved cycling and my background as an engineer led me to invest in a few bike mechanic courses. I really enjoyed the courses, but when I went to check out getting a job in local shops and projects I didn’t feel they were right for me – the atmosphere was a bit unfriendly or too profit orientated for my needs.
I saw Access Bike in the Waitrose Community Projects scheme, and it’s the opposite – it’s not driven by money, it’s people focused. I was so warmly welcomed and, with my bike skills, quickly felt really useful and part of the team, even though most of the other volunteers are young lads! I really enjoy sharing my skills and knowledge with them, harking back to my days as a trained instructor with the Air Force - for me ths is more enjoyable than the tech stuff. On top of that its great to meet new people, stay busy. I can choose when I volunteer, fit it around my childcare responsibilities. Anna and Corrine, company managers, pointed me in the direction of a stroke survivors support group which showed just how invested in me as a person they really are.
I have another reason for volunteering at the project - working in a technically challenging environment has really helped my short-term memory problems, the major effects left over from my stroke. Having to remember where all the tools are kept, where I’ve stored pieces I’m working on and continuing tasks from day to day and week to week has helped my memory to recover and hopefully will continue! Access Bike has given me a great space to keep busy, meet new people, use my skills as an instructor and has even provided bikes for my 2 oldest children Alfie and Tabby.
Sticking To His Diet
I really enjoy going mountain which is how I met many of my friends. They then told me about the Access Bike Project and all the good things they have done so far. I thought that the idea was great and that I'd really like to get involved. So I went down with a friend and everyone there was extremely helpful and nice. There was no negativity going around at the workshop.
Everyone was focused on bikes and having fun, which is another great thing about the project. I have been coming down to the workshop for nearly a year down and I enjoy it more and more everyday. The people there have become a huge part of my life. I have been going on many adventures with them and have done many charity events. We're all close friends at the project and we love seeing new people come down to learn new things or to simply hangout with us.
Tire Changing Races
My story with bikes begins as most people's do with learning to ride: I went from being a fresh faced 6 year old on holiday in mid-Wales to a flying knight zipping across the garden on my two wheels. Since then I've rarely not had a bike by my side; be it long distance touring, zooming to uni from my student house or racing my friends, I love the feeling of my two wheeled freedom. Finishing university last year I found myself back in Stroud and looking for somewhere I could be of use and more importantly have fun, luckily Access Bike allows me to do both in spades!
I started working down here in January 2018 and haven't looked back - while diving into learning bike skills, I am lucky enough to work alongside Alfred on our awesome Mentor Programme. The guys we get to work with are incredible! I really love how it how it brings together disabled and non-disabled young adults in the same space. My job is to generate and help facilitate these interactions, support learning on both sides and to encourage mentees and volunteers alike to think about, and work alongside, each other’s specific skills, and it's awesome!
On top of that they let me do things like build a website (you're welcome!), create qualifications and fly my drone around! Access Bike is a unique project that I would recommend anyone and everyone to get involved with. The volunteers are amazing and my fellow 'staff' members Anna and Alfred are fantastic - long may my time at Access Bike continue!