In this post we meet Roland, one of our valued volunteers. Each of our volunteers has a passion for cycling and for helping other people get on their bike and get on with life. You too can volunteer at the bike shed.
I have always loved cycling and was delighted to find the Bike Shed in Wolverhampton when I arrived in the city in 2016. My folding bike had just been stolen so I was looking to renovate my old racing bike. Unfortunately, I didn’t have many tools, had an extremely limited budget and, most importantly, lacked the expertise.
Fortunately, the Bike Shed provided every tool imaginable, lots of friendly advice and help, and cheap components.
I decided I had to go for a complete rebuild as the bike was (at least) third hand when I bought it in the early 1990s. I also planned to turn it from a racing bike into a fast tourer. This was a long process which left me without transport for a couple of months. However, the Bike Shed lent me a bike to get around on free of charge!
First, I stripped the bike down to the frame and then repainted it, then added new wheels and components recycled from other donated bikes: a bottom bracket, gears, saddle, brakes, cables… basically building it up from scratch.
It was oily at time but fun. Importantly I also learnt how a bike works and now feel confident to tackle almost every problem and breakage that could occur whilst cycling. In fact, I enjoyed the process so much that I now volunteer at the Bike Shed and help them to recycle old bikes and components to reduce waste and encourage the local Wolverhampton community to use greener more healthy transport.
In June 2017 I went touring on my “new” bike from Wolverhampton to Brighton. I am happy to say it performed superbly, despite being loaded with two panniers. Later that month to give it (an myself) the ultimate test, cycling to Wales and back in a day (100 miles). Again there were no problems at all – apart from my own exhaustion.
If the Bike Shed hadn’t been around, either I would have had to find several hundred pounds from somewhere to buy a comparable bike, or I would be without one and be a lot less fit – and a lot more miserable!