Tell us your stories: BikeBiz wants to hear your tales from the workshop

Do you have a funny, eye-opening, or important story from the workshop? An interaction with a customer that you particularly remember?

BikeBiz is looking for tales from the workshop to feature in future editions of our magazine, and we’d love to hear from you.

Email or fill out the form below to tell us your stories – an example from our May edition can be found below.

Fill in the questionnaire here:

“If we made a difference to that one person, that’s enough for me”

Graeme Freestone King, director at Velotech Cycling, shares an encounter with a man who completed his Velotech Gold Certificate while in prison

This tale first appeared in the May ’22 edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

About four years ago, I was teaching a high-level Campagnolo Technical Course at one of Campagnolo’s wholesaler’s premises. There were about 10 mechanics there, from five or six shops.

At the end, after a long and lively Q&A session to finish the day, one of the guys was quite slow to pick his personal belongings up and join his colleague with whom he’d travelled – that’s usually a sign (as most trainers know) that an attendee “wants a word” – maybe something not fully understood, or a further query.

The gentleman simply said quietly: “I wanted a private word – and I wanted to shake your hand.” There was an intensity about him and I was a little taken aback. I offered him my hand and as he shook it, he looked me straight in the eye and said: “I was on a life sentence at a category A prison (I don’t want to name it here) and while I was inside, I did my Velotech Gold Certificate. It’s the only certificate I have for anything that I have ever studied for.

“It took me two years but inside, you don’t really think about that. When I got out, I applied for a job with the shop I’m at now, and the owner took a risk and took me on. It’s the first full time job I have ever had. It’s thanks to the Velotech programme. I understand that you trained my trainer. So I wanted to thank you.”

And with that, he left. The gentleman concerned is still at that retailer and has been on other courses with us since. It’s been a privilege to have him work with us.

So when some of my more cynical colleagues tell me that we are wasting our time working in the prisons, in social enterprises, with recycling schemes and the like, some even hinting that, because we choose not to work with an awarding body, what we do is somehow second rate and “not for the real cycle trade”, I just smile and think of that man and let it wash over me. If we made a difference to that one person, that’s enough for me.

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