CERA News

We are so Proud to announce our team have been successful in obtaining the QUEENS AWARD For Voluntary Service

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CLICK HERE TO READ ALL ABOUT IT receiving The QUEENS AWARD

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education

Opportunity?

Because we are a small organisation City and Guilds are unable to allow us to become an accredited centre as we need to either provide more than 100 learners per year or provide  CITY & GUILDS with a 5,000 per year revenue to qualify as an Accredited Centre.  As this is the case and we are just setting off on the City and Guilds track we believe these numbers would only be realistic and achievable once we were actually established as an Accredited Centre

C&G Option 2...  We can approach other organisations who have the C&G accredited Centre Status allow us to supply the CITY & GUILDS qualifications LEVEL 2 in cycle mechanics through their centre status or centre number and be paid by us for this privilege,  A centre willing to work with us on this would only be required to allow us to put our completed course work through their centre number!!  any inspection of our workshop is welcomed

we have started this journey and have approached Stockport College and Pitman Training to date have been met with no interest what so ever, if you are a C&G accredited Centre and you would like to discuss working with us to provide better futures for young people and young adults please contact us ASAP.

Luckily for our students and good for the greater Manchester schools we work with to know, Halfords and Decathlon do recognise the good work we do and are taking our completed Cycle Technicians Course and portfolio seriously

We pride ourselves on working with hard to reach groups, providing education, life skills, employability skills and personal empowerment.  In our naivety we honestly thought providing this qualification would be a breeze as we have a bespoke facility, a fully equipped 6 bay workshop, we employ a qualified tutor, have 4 qualified cycle mechanics to teach and students waiting to complete this qualification.

 

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We deliver our own cycle technicians course to our young people this includes learning... How to professionally M-Check a cycle, maintain and repair all types of rim brake systems. maintain and repair all gearing systems, maintain and replace bottom brackets, cassettes and blocks, professional inspection of wear on wheels, tyres, frames, conduct wheel truing (lateral and radial) and wheel building. There are 10 Certificates in all which take true focus to achieve.  We are now planning to apply to become a CITY & GUILDS Level 2 Cycle Mechanic Centre

The following young people have fully completed our technicians course... and Decathlon and Halfords have shown interest in offering employment

Lee. W.    Callum. B. C.       Kallum. T.           Tomas. H.          Andrew. B.

and others due to pick up next term where they left off

Sean. L.         Shaun. B.       Drea. T             Charlie. P       Nile. Y          Oliver. V

Well done to all the young people who have either succeeded and gain a full portfolio or are on their way to success as from next term.

All our Students need now is the full qualification of CITY & GUILDS Level 2 Cycle Mechanic which can be used in many ways to further themselves

 

WOW...Two prestigious awards for Young People at Cycling Uk's "Get Together" National Conference in Manchester 08/10/16 

Click below to read tom's full Story .... Homelessness to success

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Pictured Above;  YOUNG VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD well done to all three lads Charles Stevens, Will Hsu and Tom Hibbs from Ceracycloan - young people showing the way forward...

Pictured Below...  They've not finished yet, the same three lads named above also won the YOUNG ACHIEVER AWARD at the Cycling UK Annual Conference - These three will certainly show other young people the way forward on entry to the cycling world.

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Jak Davies Volunteer Achievement AWARD WINNER !

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Jak Davies has come such a long way through hard work and determination all at Ceracycloan are so proud of Jak we have seen his personal growth happening right before our eyes.  Jak has helped set up a cycling group for H3 charity a charity which helps the homeless into housing, Jak himself was once homeless so he knows how valuable physical exercise is and his chosen method was cycling, for...  Knowledge, health, fitness, fresh air, great scenery and great company or something you can do on your own.  Along with Volunteering at Ceracycloan and learning all about Restorative Practice Jak was also busy volunteering to establish a cycling group via H3 Hostels which has made huge positive impacts -  Well done Jak!

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On Sunday 2nd October, staff from Stockport Homes, H3 Helping the Homeless into Housing and Ceracycloan came together to complete a bike ride St Annes Lytham to St Annes Hospice in Little Houlton, approximately 54 miles with some amazing scenery and gruelling hills along the way.  If you would like to Support the Ceracycloan Team simply visit  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brian-pendlebury

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A total Pleasure for us and Total Rebuild for JOE

Mr Joe Pilling Rebuild - Click to read the full rebuild story

MR Joe Pilling     1940 to1950 cycling

CYCLOAN ANGELS RAISE OVER £600 for Breast Cancer Research 

pic 5TFGM ran a Women on Wheels initiative which Ceracycloan were involved in, we facilitated a bike ridepic 2 specifically for ladies who haven't been on a bike for some time the whole Ceracycloan event was focused on Women's Health and Wellbeing,  pre ride we had a Nutritionist offering support, guidance and offering sample natural energising drinks to get off to a good start.  We then rode off to Fletcher Moss Park along the Mersey Trail where we had Lunch.  After Lunch we set off back along the Mersey Trail into Stockport returning the our base where the ladies were met with free natural recovery drinks and Two burly physiotherapist's who were offering advice and free massages - what a great day and at the same time the Cycloan Angels team managed to raise a good amount of funds fro breast Cancer - well done ladies and Thank You to all who supported us!   https://www.justgiving.com/cycloanangels 

 

Young Victim Of Cycle Theft 

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A young victim of cycle theft was devastated when he realised his bike had been stolen, his Mum communicated this to Stockport Council who put them in touch with Ceracycloan. On this occasion Ceracycloan were in a position to provide a donated replacement bike for the young person who was very pleased with the bike he had received today, off he goes again enjoying his bike. There really is no need to thieve a bike simply purchase a quality bike from us at a very reasonable cost which also supports the work we do in our communities - if anybody knows where the stolen bike is please do let us know - it was a teens bike, stolen from the Heaton chapel area

GOOD SAMARITANS 

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The Good Samaritans - Colin who works for BT (one of our customers) stopped to assist a cyclist in distress who was on his way to Sheffield. With no tools and a punctured inner tube Callum had no way of continuing on his 4 hour cycling journey to Sheffield. Brian Pendlebury collected the chap in the company to get the stranded cyclist back to our workshop and our new apprentice Thomas Hibbs fixed the bike and got Callum back on his way. Colin kindly paid for the parts and Cycloan provided free labour and provided a free set of lights to ensure a safe journey. The chap was really grateful and he was soon on his way again.

 

Toms Story 

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Read a really motivating and emotional case study - one young man's journey from homelessness into qualifications, click the link below to access TOM's story

TOMS STORY

 

 

Working in partnership keeps the wheels turning, to find out how this works and how people benefit simply click the highlighted text  working in partnership

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By showing determination Young people win again !  simply click on the link to read more...     Rewards and prizes

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103 appeal

Young People form ceracycloan and Stockport School Understand the Value of Giving this Christmas 11th Dec 2015 - To read the full story simply click the below link...

2015 stockport school key 103

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group award

Ceracycloan win prestigious Award in recognition of the work they facilitate with young people 10th Dec 2015 - To read the full story simply click the below link...

2015 young stars award

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A victim of cycle has once again benefited from Ceracycloan having a bike donated to replace one recently stolen.  The victim was a young person who rode his bike daily to commute to and from school and also for pleasure, the young lad and his mother were made up with the bike offered saying its was exactly what he wanted and couldn't have wished for more  (December 2105)

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CERACYCLOAN support Walthew House Auction

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Ceracycloan donated a bike to Walthew House to help the organisation raise funds.   Walthew House is a local independent charity supporting people in Stockport who are blind, visually impaired, Deaf or hard of hearing, or who have dual sensory loss.The charity is named after John Walthew, who founded the charity in 1882.

Mr Gethin Jones collected to bike from us and left with a smile on his face

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BECAUSE THEY DESERVE SUPPORT

Ceracycloan understand the value of volunteering as do all our volunteers and to support this interaction we facilitate Duke of Edinburgh Awards with young people which add a huge value to our already high standards of volunteering, personal skills and health and wellbeing.

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Our initial small team of young people partaking in the DofE Award are currently training to complete the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride on Ceracycloan's loan Road Bikes, none of which have cycled on a road bike let alone ever completed a 60 mile ride.  Ceracycloan have sponsored road bikes for all involved and our young people wish to raise funds for The Christie's and When you Wish Upon a Star Charities.  You may be asking yourselfs... are these young people who have previously been referred to Ceracycloan?  YES, and now they are...  Actively volunteering, helping and giving to others, are positively and physically active and are continuing to learn.  No need to be amazed!  Its simply an outcome of true Restorative interventions and engagement - They do it all because they want to !  Well Done Lads - Society should be very proud of you.

If you would like to support our young people and others please click on the following links of your choice - donate and help raise confidence, self esteem and personal progression whilst at the same time support a charity of your choice

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR

THE CHRISTIE

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WE'RE MOVING ON

Ceracycloan are entering a new and exciting phase and are planning to vacate Stockport college by 31st July 2015.  It must be said... having the opportunity to work in partnership with Stockport College for the first year of practice has been a huge advantage for Ceracycloan, however it is now time to venture into a new era and Ceracycloan's intended new premises will provide a bright, modern, bespoke,  inviting and welcoming space promoting well being at every turn to facilitate...

  • A bespoke servicing and course workshop,
  • A bespoke upcycling workshop,
  • Bike, Bike parts and accessories shop
  • Cycle Hire provision
  • Cycle Loan provision
  • National Standards Cycling Training
  • Duke of Edinburgh Provisions

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STOP PRESS; Young Person Donates a Bike to his School

A young person from Brinnington who attends Castle Hill High School in Offerton has been engaging with Ceracycloan who are based at Stockport College on a positive activity approach in partnership with Stockport Youth Offending Service.

The young person (TC) has completed a number of sessions at Ceracycloan learning how to maintain bicycles, the cycles he has worked on are all donated to Ceracycloan from kind hearted residents of Stockport and beyond because they see and understand the value of this type of engagement.

TC has worked on many different types of bikes to widen his knowledge of bike and part types such as road, mountain and hybrid bikes. donated bike26

Ceracycloan’s head Mechanic commented; “the outcome of TC’s work has been exceptional given his experience and age, he takes pride in his work and the quality shows” Whilst being mentored at Ceracycloan TC has engaged to a high level to learn new skills and he always ensures there is very little the head mechanic can pick him up on before the bike are signed off as complete and road worthy.

School had mentioned to Ceracycloan that they would benefit from having a specific type of bike which they would use via group school activities as they encourage and promote cycling and whilst been mentored TC mentioned that he would like to prepare this cycle for his school.  TC Said “I have learnt more at Ceracycloan in one session than I did on my work experience placement, I really enjoy coming here”

Brian Pendlebury Director of Ceracycloan arranged for TC to present the bike as a donation on behalf of Ceracycloan.  The whole process has proved rewarding and empowering for this particular young person and equally rewarding for the services involved evidencing quality partnership working.

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Supporting Adult Well-being and progression 

JohnDSC00105 has been unemployed for 2 years and is from an engineering back ground.  He enrolled onto Stockport College’s Digital Skills Course on 7th Feb 2014 and went on to complete this and subsequently the ECDL Level 1 and level 2.

In September 2014, John also came on to the Modern Employability Course to work on his applications, CV and general employability skills. Whilst on this course, John attended a Volunteers Fair at the College and was introduced to Brian Pendlebury Director of Ceracycloan a new Stockport Social Enterprise based at Stockport College.

Ceracycloan have a cycle repair workshop, retail shop selling refurbished bikes and an upcycling workshop that recycles old or unwanted bicycles.  Where possible Ceracycloan also offers volunteering opportunities to all age groups. Within the upcycling area parts no longer fit for purpose are used to make items – such as candle holders, hand bags, trophies, belts, clocks and tables (such as the table pictured above).

John went along to Ceracycloan to have a look around the upcycling area and very soon starting volunteering Monday to Friday alongside Christine, Brian’s wife who also volunteers, together they are both developing ideas for making innovative, creative and useful items.

Not long after John began volunteering at Ceracycloan, Brian with a future view suggested he could be supported into becoming self-employed in partnership with Ceracycloan, using the workshop premises and tools etc. to make and retail items for sale.

Ceracycloan have recently supported John to access a BTEC Level 3 Award in Education and Training (QFC) provided by Essential Learning to gain skills in workshop delivery and become a qualified tutor with a view to facilitate accredited workshops at Ceracycloan.

John Said… “At 58 I felt I would never get another job in relation to engineering, with all the support I have been offered along with attending Ceracycloan as a volunteer I feel I have a new found energy, my self-confidence has risen immensely and I now have a drive to get back to work and actually feel useful again, the team at Ceracycloan are supportive and very inspiring”.

Brian Said…  John has a lot to give and it is a pleasure working with him, supporting and evidencing his working and personal development is a great reminder of why I initially established Ceracycloan.  The creativity and learning involved in upcycling promotes self-confidence through personal achievement and I have every confidence that John will achieve total success with Ceracycloan in the very near future.

Whilst John is waiting for developments to be fully established he plans on continuing to volunteer at Ceracycloan which will ensure he can develop manufacturing ideas and at the same time access continued support into employment where he can also share his skills with others via workshop facilitation.

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Work with Stockport Youth Offending Service and SEN school

Overview

Ceracycloan are currently working with individuals from Stockport Youth Offending Service, young people in care and small groups of young people from Windlehurst School (SEN Students with behavioural issues) also access our provision as part of an engagement curriculum.  The work with young people from the youth offending service facilitates crime prevention work, reparation (community payback) and at the same time promotes and installs positive and practical skill building.   Ceracycloan engage all young people not only through a practical engagement activity but also by implementing restorative practice into all interactions to empower, influence positive behaviour changes and prepare young people for the workplace.  As a result of this engagement a good number of young people have expressed interests in peer mentorship, cycle mechanics, other courses, volunteering at Ceracycloan, becoming cycle leaders and showing interest in obtaining qualifications.  Ceracyloan strongly advocates and works toward implementing the five ways to well-being (Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give) two young people volunteering who have continued after a service intervention such as these and both are feeling the value of all five well-being points.  All young people had shown a great interest and thanks to their positive engagement we are able to make bicycle donations to various organisations and individuals.

Skill Building

Young people begin by learning how to strip down a bike properly using the correct PARK tooling in the right manner, all the parts removed are placed securely in a parts box ready for meticulous cleaning.  Removing the stubborn parts can be time consuming as they are regularly so rusted that they naturally welded (ironized) these parts once removed are discarded in to our upcycling area and assessed for reuse purposes before going for scrap to support recycling at its best.

Knowledge

The next stage is to understand the importance of cleaning all parts in readiness for the rebuild stage!    All parts were fully degreased in our degreasing unit, cleaned individually, thoroughly washed and dried and re lubricated before fitting back on a bicycle.  All young people are mentored throughout their session and are also guided by our servicing check list which must be completed.

Rebuild final wipe down, oil and ready for sale or donation

Once degreased, re-oiled and rebuilt the bicycle service check list is completed and all bicycles coming out of Ceracycloan are thoroughly checked and signed off by one of our cycle mechanics to certify road worthiness

Donations made by Ceracycloan

June 2014 through to December 2014 17 bicycles have been donated through valuable intervention work such as this, donations have been made to various individuals and groups as below

  • TfGM Bike to work scheme supporting long term unemployed people who have recently obtained work to access sustainable transport.
  • The Good Shepherd Charity raising funds for the Bapty Day Care and Nursery School  located in Kabale District in the South Western part of Uganda
  • Victims of cycle theft
  • Local community events
  • Deprived Young People

For more information visit;    www.ceracycloan.co.uk/cera-news/

Future Plans to add to donations

Early in 2015 Ceracyclaon have plans to donate a couple of bikes to Stockport schools or agencies which can be either used to promote cycling and or to reward consistent and positive behaviour changes within young people.

What do people say about ceracycloan ?

Visit;  www.ceracycloan.co.uk/customer-feedback/

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6 months - 17 bikes donated

Just last week yet another victim of cycle theft was replaced a bike by Ceracycloan and over the past 6 months Ceracycloan has donated a total of 4 bikes to victims of cycle theft. This provision is not funded and is purely facilitated by the number of bike sales we make on a monthly as are the number of new parts we are able to purchase to renovate other bikes.

Over the past 6 months Ceracycloan have donated a total of  17 bikes, wow thats nearly 3 per month!  4 to victims of cycle theft, 3 to children living in poverty via Stockport School and 103 Mission Christmas Appeal, 1 donated to a community event, 1 to The Good Shepherd Network and 8 to people who have been long term unemployed but have recently been successful in obtaining work to support sustainable travel means.

We work in partnership with our local Youth Offending Service and all of the 17 donated bikes have been worked on by young people carrying out community reparation whilst completing their court orders.  All of the young people involved have engaged really well and enjoy knowing they are making a difference, the work on the bikes is completed to a very high standard which also reflects the work ethic of all young people involved.

Without the continued support of the general public this would not be possible as their donations to Ceracycloan of unused / unwanted bikes make the above happen.

From all at Ceracycloan a Huge Thank You needs to be said to all who have made kind donation to us.

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What have you done today to make you feel proud ?

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Pictured below...  Ceracycloan were notified that Stockport School were asking Students to rally together and make donations for the Key 103 Mission Christmas Appeal and were acting as a local drop off point for donated presents,  The Mission Christmas appeal provides a gift that will make Christmas 2014 special for a child living in poverty and is looking for new and unwrapped gifts suitable for babies, toddlers, children and teenagers aged 0 to 18 years.  The young people who engage with interventions supplied by us were inspired by this appeal and worked hard to renovate three bicycles to an excellent state of repair ready for donating the drop off point at Stockport School.  This was a fantastic opportunity in many ways...  great partnership working!  and inspirational and rewarding for young people to be involved in!  not to mention the radiation of how many people this initiative will actually touch with the feel good factor!  The children and young people receiving the presents, their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends the list goes on.... The three bicycles donated were fully serviced by young people completing community reparation aspect of a restorative justice intervention, when complete all three bikes were signed off by our CYTEC bike mechanic.  The young people involved had full knowledge of the intended donation route of the bikes and were totally motivated by this, they worked extremely hard and took a huge amount of pride in getting these bikes ready in time for the appeal.

Pictured below left to right...  Mr Warren (Deputy Head Stockport School) Brian Pendlebury (Director of CERA)  Christine Pendlebury (Volunteer)  Josh Walton (Volunteer) Mr Irwin (Head Teacher Stockport School)

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GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN...

People may think that the activities at Ceracycloan are something females would not want to be involved in, if thats what you think you'd be mistaken and if you have ever visited to see what has been achieved we're sure you would agree .  DSC00020Christine manages our upcycling workshops which are currently under development however Christine is also working hard to produce top quality samples of what can be made from old bike parts and you'd be amazed at the inspiring and creative ideas Christine has in mind.  Not only does Christine Manage the Upcycling workshop but she has also shown a great interest in mentoring young people in recycling and fully renovating some very old bikes, so much so that we have nicknamed her our Upcycling / Retro Queen (picture shows quality retro recycling) and the Queen of course!

DSC00017Cody is an Art Student at Sheffield Hallam studying Fine Art who is current on placement with us at Ceracycloan, Cody has a huge interest in Art and is exploring how upcycling and recycling can be linked and is also exploring what young people and adults think of our inclusive, innovative and social practice.  Cody made sure she got stuck in as soon as she arrived on the premises and started to make posture seats from old bike frames and seats, everybody who has tried these seat has noticed an improved seated position Cody has made four of these seats and would really like to paint the frames but she will just have to wait until we have the facilities to do so.

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THE GOOD SHEPHERD NETWORK

CeraCycloan have recently supported the Good Shepherd Network in Withington to help raise funds to Support the Bapty Day Care and Nursery School  located in Kabale District in the South Western part of Uganda.   CeraCycloan contributed to raffle prizes of...   One voucher with up to £50 to spend on one of our recycled bikes, One voucher with upto £30 to spend on one of our recycled bikes and one voucher giving the bearer a free bike service worth £25  which in total helped raise over £500 on the night.  Well done to everybody who helped make the evening a total success.

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CeraCycloan Mentoring Programme

I have been at CeraCycloan for three full days (every Friday for three weeks 9.30am to 5.30pm ) in that time I have…

DSCN1505I have identified a bike I wanted to work on, stripped it of all damaged parts, identified used or new parts to replace the old unusable ones (which isn’t as easy as it sounds), replaced bearings, found and checked the right size wheels, inner tubes and tyres and I was shattered at the end of each day!

DSCN1532On the final day (which I don’t like saying!) Brian supported me to concentrate on customer service, this included... pricing the bike I had re-built, serving customers, answering the telephone, taking and passing on messages. I achieved all this and I was also given time to check my own bike and service it if I liked -I really do not want this to come to an end (BRIAN – DID YOU HEAR THAT?)

Andrew’s placement was to ensure preparation was in place to support Andrew in certs andybecoming work ready and at the same time cater for his individual learning needs.  He completed all of the aforementioned tasks to an excellent standard and his work ethic was outstanding on every day he attended.  Not only will Andrew receive two certificates from CERACYCLOAN but he will also receive a reference on request.

Andrew really did not want to leave CERACYCLOAN and to be honest we also would have liked him to stay on with us as he is a complete pleasure to work with.  Sadly we all know that everything comes to an end... but... Isn't it also true that when one door closes another one opens?  Andrew now volunteers every Friday with us at  CERACYCLOAN (and is very proud of his ID badge)  he is also being trained at CeraCycloan to become a peer mentor and put to good use the new skills he now possesses.  Andrew has recently applied for a part time job and is now waiting for the outcome of his interview !

Today 27th Oct - ANDREW GOT THE JOB !

What a STAR...  Well Done Andrew! - teamwork makes the dream work!

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Congratulations Liam on getting a new Job and trust that the bike you have been donated from Ceracycloan via TfGM Bike to Work Scheme will get you there in good speed

All the Best Liam from - CeraCycloan the BIKE FIX PEOPLE

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THIEF UNWITTINGLY DOES VICTIM A FAVOUR

Mr H.  82 yrs young prides himself on keeping fit and one of the ways he does this is to ride his bicycle; well, at least until a thief stole his cycle! Mr H. was given contacts for ceracycloan and in his own words here's how the story developed...

DSCN1506"After having my cycle stolen I was advised to contact Brian Pendlebury at ceracycloan a social enterprise based at Stockport college  who recycles bikes.  Brian verified the crime through GMP and said he was in a position to provide me with a replacement bicycle, I was over the moon.  I learned that ceracycloan do not receive any funding to facilitate this however, ceracycloan treated me like royalty and provided me with a fully serviced and roadworthy cycle which was better than the original cycle I had stolen so the thief did me a huge favour.  I am extremely impressed, thank you, I'll also be having my bike serviced at ceracycloan in the future.

 

CERA CYCLING TEAMS WITH A DIFFERENCE....

CERA are looking forward and planning to establish a cycling team in the near future, to do this we are also refurbishing some of our donated cycles to form a pool of bikes individuals can use free of charge when cycling with our team.  Our routes cater for beginners, intermediate and advanced Our idea is to provide the opportunity for individuals  to experience different rides on specific bikes for the terrain on our rides.  We are looking to have four road bikes and four off roaders - to ensure safety hi vis and helmets must be worn and will also be provided with our loan bikes.  Together we can support people experiencing life challenges to professionally experience cycling without cost attached , promotion of great interaction, wonderful for health and wellbeing, fantastic for sporting opportunities or simply promoting a positive activity.  Our youngest cycle leader is 18yrs old and will be heading up the CERA cycling team idea.   More news on this coming soon ! tag our website - share with others!

 

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Great Sun Shine, Wonderful People, Fantastic event

Great Sun Shine, Wonderful People, Fantastic event

We have supported over 10 community events during July and August and have met a lot of fantastic people along the way - We have been engaged with young people and adults alike and have had great conversation / interaction about cycling routes, bikes and biking experiences.  There is a real interest from all to get cycling and learn how to maintain bikes. Interested in free courses to learn how?  Simply visit our cycle maintenance course page!

 

DANIELS CYCLING STORY...

Daniel sponsor daniels ride

Cycloan Education and Restorative Approaches (CERA Ltd) have recently sponsored Daniel Parkinson to complete the cycling part of a fun NHS Triathlon being held on 29/06/14. Daniel has received a road bike, helmet, gloves, bike lock, training routes and a cycling jersey to ensure he has all the right gear to safely complete his part of the triathlon. Daniel has two other team members who no doubt will be training and preparing as hard as Daniel, all three have come together to do something good for others by raising funds for Cancer Research whilst at the same time raising to the challenge of the NHS fun triathlon, would you like to support Daniel and the team  READ ON FOR DANIELS STORY>>>>

Not quite over the hill yet… riding the NHS Bolton Triathlon

Having done zero cycling in around 25 years, I was nominated by my work colleagues to do the bike leg of a relay team in the NHS Triathlon in Bolton, to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I like a challenge so thought, why not?

The main problem with this? The lack of an actual bike.

Luckily for me I got in touch with Brian Pendlebury at CeraCycloan.co.uk who had just the thing – a brightly coloured 1980s reconditioned Peugeot bike. It reminded me of the racer I had when I was a kid (and turned out to be as light as a feather). He kindly agreed to loan me the bike to train and prepare for the ride and also use it in the race, so it was game on!  Brian also linked in a local Stockport cycle shop Woodson’s Cycles who jointly with Ceracycloan sponsored the cycling equipment I had been offered.

When I got on the bike I was a bit wobbly and bothered about the traffic, but soon got the hang of it. The first lesson was learned – tighten the seat – and check the pedals – before you start! (And how do these gears work again?). Minor mishaps out of the way, I set about the roads of Trafford. However these flat roads could do nothing to prepare me for the hills around Rivington Pike…

With a dodgy back leading up to the race I was feeling every one of my 39 years. Thankfully it started to ease up and by race day I was ready to go. With a great atmosphere at the event in Horwich, Bolton, and overcast and slightly windy conditions, I waited for my swimming team-mate to pass me the wristband and suddenly I was away on the open road.

The race began with a long, steep climb which I was totally unprepared for. As I crawled my way up I wondered what else was in store. Yes you guessed it – more hills.

As we climbed higher the wind picked up and it was hard on the lungs as well as the legs. But it looked like others were struggling a bit too which encouraged me. The brief respite of the few flat stretches were like an oasis in a desert. As the route climbed through beautiful countryside - as high up as Rivington goes - many inexperienced riders were stopping for a breather. Some expensive looking machines passed me, but I felt I was holding my own and more importantly, so was the bike. (They don’t make them like they used to!)

The last third of the race was mainly downhill back towards Horwich, with some pretty steep descents. While you had to have your wits about you, it was a welcome relief for someone who has never done hill climbs before. I’ve always been more of a runner than a cyclist really, but I enjoyed the experience and have newfound respect for those who tackle those steep inclines on two wheels.

The feeling of finishing the 21km race and passing on the wristband to our runner was elation – this feeling is clearly the thing that keeps people coming back for more.

We didn’t win overall although my team mates did brilliantly, but I finished in just over an hour which is the time I was aiming for so I was really happy with that for a first attempt.  Never underestimate a 30 year old bike! All this has definitely sparked an interest in cycling I never had before. Roll on the next ride…

For more information about the triathlon event see http://www.nhstriathlon.co.uk/

Great Sun Shine, Wonderful People, Fantastic event

re: dish Community Event - Great Sun Shine, Wonderful People, Fantastic event

BIKES FIX PEOPLE !  Since opening our doors in June, CERA have donated a total of 8 bicycles in its first month.  These bicycles have been donated to victims of crime, community events or to people supported by the Transport for Greater Manchester Bike to Work Scheme.