Wigan dad hopes his new project will help to get people on their bikes
A Wigan dad who shut his business due to Brexit hopes to make a real difference with his new venture.
Mark Harrison, from Ashton, used to import tricycles used by ice cream sellers and other traders, but was badly affected by Britain leaving the EU.
He needed to do something different and has now turned his attention to bicycles with the launch of Wigan Cycle Project, based in Hindley.
He finds bikes at the borough’s household waste recycling centre or receives them as donations, before fixing them up and selling them for a small fee.
Dad-of-two Mark only launched the new project a few weeks ago, but is already hopeful it will make a difference.
He said: “My daughter is only 10 but was doing environmental stuff at school. She learned about getting things from all over the world, so I stopped doing it and I am now concentrating on recycling. In this country, even new bikes might come from China and have a big carbon footprint.
"We are getting people fit and healthy as well and encouraging them to stop using their cars for journeys.
"I started cycling quite a few years ago and I cycle into work and feel so much better. It’s not just the physical side, it’s a mental thing as well, because you’re not sitting in traffic.”
Mark, 50, has already come across a lot of bikes and often finds items thrown away despite simply needing a clean-up and small repairs.
He said: “Some of the bikes that go to the tip are ridiculous. People will throw anything away. Some just needed cleaning up and a new chain on and they were good to go.”
One reason could be that a child has outgrown their bicycle, so he hopes the new service will be popular with parents.
Each bicycle has a suggested donation price, with some starting from just £5, making them affordable to many.
He also sells parts, such as tyres, for just 50p each.
Wigan Cycle Project has already sold around 15 bikes, raising more than £200. All the money raised goes back into the project to buy more parts.
It is being run as a community project and Mark is receiving support to set up a community interest company (CIC) and work with other groups and services.
Wigan Council and its waste and recycling partner FCC Environment, which operates the three recycling centres in the borough, have teamed up with him to recycle the bikes taken into the centres and get them back into the community.
He has also linked up with Gearing Up CIC and Wigan Council’s Be Well team and was visited by councillors Chris Ready, James Palmer and Paul Blay, who wanted to find out more about the project.
Mark also hopes the firm will provide an income, so he is offering servicing, is making bicycles with sidecars to sell and hopes to work with businesses.
To find out more or volunteer, contact Mark via www.thecycleproject.co.uk or The Cycle Project’s Facebook page.