A chartered structural engineer who quit due to a downturn in the construction industry is now riding high as a bike mechanic.
Russell Cutts started out as a mobile mechanic and did one day a week servicing bikes at Sheffield station from the back of his van.
After two years he has gone up a gear by opening a new workshop, hire centre and shop there as part of the next phase of its £850,000 Cycle Hub.
Russell, aged 32, is riding high on the cycle boom from the Tour de France.
He said: “At times it’s been really hard: everybody knows just how bitterly cold a railway station can be and working with your hands in such freezing conditions can be a real challenge. No matter the weather, I’m passionate about bikes and helping cyclists use them daily. So, now having my own workshop and retail space (which will be lovely and warm in the winter) will really transform what I can do to help Sheffield’s growing community of cycling commuters.”
Russell’s Bicycle Shed is targeting the increasing number of commuters riding bikes to and from work.
A major aspect of the new business is running a city-wide bike hire scheme from The Hub at the Railway Station.
“People in London have taken to hiring city bikes,” said Russell, “we are Sheffield’s first city centre bike hire scheme. But, a London style ‘Boris’ bike, is just too heavy for the hills of Sheffield, so instead we’ve got a fleet of lightweight multi-geared Marin bikes.”
The firm will also be stocking Tern folding bikes, which have up to 30 gears and can tackle the city’s famous hills, and cycling products.
Russell says he has been keen to find the very best products he can.
“I’ve tried really hard to source well-designed and stylish accessories. Originally I come from a civil engineering and architectural background so attention to detail and good design is very important to me.”
Before he became a mechanic Russell worked at several engineering and architectural practices. But, prompted by the downturn in the industry, he left to follow his true passion.
“In 2012, I started my own mobile repair service. That same year I approached East Midlands Trains for permission to set-up my mobile workshop in the cycle park at Sheffield Railway Station. Since then, I’ve worked on hundreds of customers’ bikes and seen at first hand the need for improved facilities at the station. Over the last year, I’ve played an active role in the development of the new Cycle Hub, which opened this summer.
“As you can imagine professionalism and attention to detail was critical in my previous line of work and I bring this skill to my bicycle business.”
Russell’s Bicycle Shed is part of the new Cycle Hub located by the taxi rank at Sheffield Railway Station. Opening times are Monday-Friday 7am to 7pm. Car parking is available at the station car park. http://www.russellsbicycleshed.co.uk